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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Man Accused Of Throwing Bowling Ball At Woman’s Head

A South Carolina man has been charged with attempted murder after throwing a bowling ball at a woman’s head. York County authorities arrested Omar Sheree Stevenson, 33, for the Dec. 18 incident at the Strikers Family Sports Center in Rock Hill.

Police say Stevenson threw a 12-pound bowling ball at the victim’s head when she refused to let him buy drinks for her.

The bowling ball hit the victim in the forehead while she was sitting on a bench. Authorities say the victim’s skull was visible from the impact, according to the police report obtained by CBS Charlotte.

The victim was transported to Piedmont Medical Center where she received stitches and was released. She did not suffer a fractured skull or a concussion. Stevenson is currently being held at the York County Detention Center. Source

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gigantic Sinkhole in Guatemala City

Heavy rains from tropical storm Agatha likely triggered the collapse of a huge sinkhole in Guatemala on Sunday, seen above a few days afterward.

In the strictly geologic use of the word, a sinkhole happens when water erodes solid bedrock, carving an underground cavity that can then collapse. Many parts of the United States are at risk for that type of event.

The Guatemala sinkhole fits into a broader use of the term, which refers to any sudden slump of the ground's surface. Instead of solid bedrock, much of Guatemala City rests atop a layer of loose, gravelly volcanic pumice that is hundreds of feet thick.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Grandmother Shot While Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

A Nebraska grandmother was shot in the arm while cooking Thanksgiving dinner in her kitchen by a man who was allegedly aiming at children playing in the street.

"They were shooting outside running, I mean going up that hill at those little kids," said Cindy Kellogg, neighbor to the woman who was shot.

The woman's 14-year-old grandson fell while trying to run from the man. Police say they don't know why he aimed for children.

"I want to stay in the house with my mom," said Jazmir Holmes, 8, who plays on the street where shots were fired. "I'm scared."

"It's sad to have to want to move, since I did grow up here," said Jazmir's mother, Mary Holmes. "This was my mom's house before she passed, but I'm looking for something better for my kids."

Doctors say the grandmother is in serious condition but she is expected to survive. 

Police continue to look for the shooter. Copyright 2011 KETV via CNN. All rights reserved

Friday, September 16, 2011

President Mahmoud AbbasPresident Mahmoud Abbas formally announces U.N. membership bid

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally announced Friday that the Palestinians will ask the U.N. Security Council next week to approve full membership of a Palestinian state in the United Nations.

The announcement, in a speech to top Palestinian officials at Abbas’s office in Ramallah, appeared to seal the fate of last-ditch efforts by the Obama administration and other international mediators to come up with a formula to resume Israeli-Palestinian talks and head off the U.N. bid.

The declaration also set up a direct confrontation with the United States, which has said it will veto a Palestinian membership resolution in the Security Council. Under U.N. rules, a state applying for U.N. membership must receive the Security Council’s recommendation, followed by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly to grant the application.
“We are going to the Security Council,” Abbas said to sustained applause in remarks broadcast on Palestinian television. “As soon as I address the General Assembly, I will submit the letter of application to the secretary general of the United Nations, so that he will pass on this application to the chairman of the Security Council.”
“Our choice is the Security Council,” Abbas added. “As for other options, we will not make a decision on them. We will decide about any other options later.”
Abbas is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Sept. 23.
Palestinian officials have said that if their bid is thwarted at the Security Council, they could ask the General Assembly, where there is no veto, to elevate the Palestinians’ status to that of a non-member observer state, in effect conferring formal international recognition.
Abbas’s announcement was promptly rejected by Israel.
“Peace is not achieved by going unilaterally to the United Nations,” said a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. “Peace will be achieved

only through direct negotiations with Israel.”
The statement added: “The Palestinian Authority and its leader are consistently evading direct negotiations with Israel. When the Palestinian Authority abandons futile moves such as going unilaterally to the U.N., it will find in Israel a partner to direct negotiations for peace.”
In his remarks, which formally inaugurated the U.N. membership bid, Abbas argued that efforts to negotiate an end to Israeli occupation had reached a “dead end.” But he said the Palestinians were prepared to resume talks with Israel on all outstanding issues after receiving international recognition of statehood.
“The negotiations will be state-to-state: one an occupier, and the other under occupation,” he said.
“The occupation will not end the day after recognition,” he said, “but we will have gained recognition of the world that our state is occupied and our land is occupied, not disputed, as propagated by the Israeli government.”
“We are not going [to the United Nations] in order to isolate Israel or delegitimize it,” Abbas added. “We want to isolate the policy of the state of Israel, and we want to delegitimize the occupation.”
Abbas also parried accusations by Israel and Washington that the U.N. initiative was a unilateral move in a conflict that should be resolved through negotiations. “We are going in order to address 193 states, and it is called a unilateral step,” he said, citing the number of member states in the United Nations.
He exhorted Palestinians at home and abroad to keep demonstrations in support of the U.N. bid nonviolent.
“All the activities must be peaceful,” he said. “Don’t give them an excuse,” he added, referring to the Israelis. “Any deviation on this issue from peaceable [demonstrations] will harm us and destroy our efforts.” 

Abbas pledged that efforts to carry out a reconciliation agreement between his faction, Fatah, and the militant Islamic group Hamas, which rules Gaza, would continue, despite disagreements that so far have stymied movement to implement the accord. 

Countering arguments that U.N. recognition of a state along the 1967 boundaries with Israel would push aside the Palestine Liberation Organization, which currently has observer status in the United Nations, Abbas asserted that the organization would continue to represent Palestinians everywhere.

The PLO, Abbas said, remains “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” until it achieves independence and all outstanding disputes with Israel are resolved — primarily the issue of Palestinian refugees — and the results are implemented on the ground.: WP

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dangerous Hurricane Irene Threatens U.S. Northeast

Powerful Hurricane Irene battered the Bahamas on Wednesday on a track to the North Carolina coast that forecasters say could threaten the densely populated U.S. Northeast, including New York, starting on Sunday.

Irene, a major Category 3 storm with winds of 120 miles per hour (195 km per hour), pounded the southeast Bahamian islands with winds, rain and dangerous storm surge. Tourists fled the storm and major cruise lines canceled Bahamas stops.

The first hurricane of the storm-filled 2011 Atlantic season was expected to gain strength after it leaves the Bahamas on Thursday and race across open waters to clip North Carolina's jutting Outer Banks region on Saturday.

After that, forecasters see it hugging the U.S. eastern seaboard, swirling rains and winds across several hundred miles (km) as it churns northward toward New England.

"The exact center of the storm may actually stay pretty close to the coastline during the day on Saturday and then become a big threat for New England and perhaps Long Island ... on Sunday," U.S. National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said.

"Be advised, it's going to be a very large circulation as it moves north of the Carolinas," he told a conference call.

Read said North Carolina could get tropical storm-force winds as early as Saturday morning

At 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT), Irene's center was about 150 miles east-southeast of Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, and about 790 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

If Irene makes a direct landfall in the continental United States, it will be the first hurricane to hit there since Ike pounded Texas in 2008. But forecasts showed it posing no threat to U.S. oil and gas installations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Irene's torrential rains were blamed for two deaths in the northeast Caribbean islands. A woman in Puerto Rico and a Haitian man in the Dominican Republic were swept away by floodwaters from overflowing rivers.

States from the Carolinas northward were on alert and visitors were ordered to evacuate many of North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands on Thursday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the state's Office of Emergency Management to prepare for possible impact from Irene. Insurers kept a nervous watch in case Irene threatened wealthy enclaves such as the Hamptons, an eastern Long Island playground for New York's rich.

Forecasters warned that even if the center of the hurricane stays offshore as it tracks up the mid-Atlantic coast, its wide, swirling bands could lash cities including Washington and New York with winds and rain, knock out power, trigger coastal storm surges and cause flooding.
"We're not paying attention just to the eye of the storm. We're looking at how wide it is, how large it is," Virginia Emergency Management Department spokeswoman Laura Southard said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Irene strengthened over the Bahamas to a major Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, posing a high risk of injury and death. Forecasters said it could become a Category 4 by Thursday.

"Someone's roof is in my front yard," Harvey Roberts, an assistant administrator on the sparsely populated southeast Bahamas island of Mayaguana, told reporters on Wednesday, saying "tremendous winds" were lashing homes and buildings there.

Farther north on the scattered low-lying Bahamas, including Nassau, residents were frantically preparing.

"Everyone is either pulling up boats or putting up shutters. We are very well prepared," said Chuck Pinder, a 28-year-old fisherman in the community of Spanish Wells.

NHC chief Read predicted a "really tough time" for the Bahamas as Irene swept through Wednesday and Thursday.

Irene dealt a blow to the crucial tourism industry of the Bahamas. Cruise lines rearranged itineraries for more than a dozen ships in the area and tourism officials said the loss of those passenger visits would cost the Bahamas almost $2 million in tax revenues and other spending. Hotels also saw guests cancel or cut short their visits.

Energy firms planned to shut more than 28 million barrels of oil storage capacity in the Bahamas and refineries on the U.S. East Coast were preparing for the storm.

On the U.S. mainland, across the Carolinas coastline and in neighboring Virginia, residents stocked up with food, water and other supplies, including plywood to board up windows.

"There are people stocking up like crazy -- we're out of generators," said Tracy Hatfield at the Sam's Club members-only warehouse at Chesapeake Square.

(Additional reporting by Tom Brown, Jane Sutton and Manuel Rueda in Miami, Matthew Ward in Chesapeake, Virginia; Joan Gralla in New York, Lisa Lambert in Washington; Ned Barnett in Raleigh, N.C.; Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Eric Beech)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Norway Terror Suspect Claims More Active 'Cells', Police Doubtful

Though Anders Breivik is in custody for allegedly going on a mass bombing and shooting spree that claimed at least 76 lives in Norway Friday, he claims the threat of violence is not over and reaches far beyond Europe. 

He is willing to offer information to police about two other active "cells" of his organization in Europe and several others abroad in exchange for better prison conditions, a police prosecutor told ABC News today. 

But according to Norwegian investigators and U.S.-based fringe group databases, such a group may only exist in Breivik's head. 

Breivik has confessed to carrying out a bombing in Oslo, which killed 8, and then a shooting rampage at a liberal political youth camp on nearby Utoya island that took another 68 lives. According to a meticulous 1,500-page online manifesto, Breivik believes his attack is just the beginning of a European Christian conservative revolution, led by members of the new Knights Templar, against Muslim integration in Europe. 

Breivik, who in the manifesto calls himself a Justiciar Knight Commander in the organization, claims that in 2008 there are anywhere from 15 to 80 others with his rank in the group in Western Europe alone. Breivik said the Knights Templar organization, heir to a famed group of Crusades-era Christan knights , was resurrected in 2002 in London by representatives from several European countries to "seize political and military control of Western European multiculturalist regimes." 

Breivik planned on a 60-plus year struggle against mutliculturalism until the Knights would take control over Europe. One of the order's primary weapons, Breivik writes, is the use of one-man terror cells

"Chop-chop <3 For those of you who does [sic] not want to wait this long, should immediately ordinate yourself as a Justiciar Knight for the KT [Knights Templar]," he writes. "Any self-appointed Justiciar Knight has been given the authority by [Knights Templar]... to act as a judge, jury and executioner until the free, indigenous peoples of Europe are no longer threatened by cultural genocide." 

But anyone appointing themselves Justiciar Knights may be joining a fictitious group.
Source : ABC News

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Indonesian Maid : Escapes Execution in Saudi Arabia

Just three weeks ago, Darsem binti Dawud Tawar was facing execution by beheading in Saudi Arabia for murder, which she claims was an act of self-defense. Now, finally back home in Indonesia, she is a free woman -- after the Indonesian government paid more than $500,000 in "blood money." 
Holding her young son tightly, as she faced the glare of the media, Darsem was reunited with her family on Wednesday at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry in Jakarta. She first left her West Java hometown for a job as a maid in the Middle East in 2006, when her son was just a baby.

Darsem's pardon followed the recent beheading of another Indonesian maid convicted of murdering her employer in Saudi Arabia.

In May 2009, a Riyadh court sentenced Darsem to death for murdering a relative of her Yemeni employer in Saudi Arabia. She claimed she acted in self-defense, after he allegedly tried to rape her.

Earlier this year, the dead man's family agreed to pardon her so long as she paid them compensation, known as diyat or "blood money." 

The Indonesian government offered to pay the required compensation of 2 million riyals ($533,000). 

Indonesia Foreign Ministry says the diyat was paid on June 25 to the family through the courts. A day later, Riyadh's Vice Governor Prince Satham Abdulazis signed Darsem's release papers, and she was able to return to Indonesia on Wednesday.

Another Indonesian maid working in Saudi Arabia, Ruyati binti Sapubi, was executed on June 16. Her beheading caused public outrage in Indonesia and a diplomatic protest when Saudi Arabian authorities failed to inform Indonesia about the date of her execution.

The Indonesian government announced a full moratorium on sending workers to the Gulf kingdom, demanding an agreement be first signed to ensure the protection of workers' rights.

It was to take effect on August 1 but a month before that, Saudi Arabia announced its own ban, halting the issuance of visas to domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines.
Migrant workers' rights groups have long demanded better working conditions and protection for more than a million Indonesian workers in Saudi Arabia.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Michael Tene said the two sides held meetings in Saudi Arabia on July 11 and 12 on this issue. 

While talks are at an early stage, Tene said Indonesia is hopeful a memorandum of understanding could be signed this year with stipulations for improved rights and conditions for workers, enabling them to again work in Saudi Arabia.

Tene also said government efforts continue to ensure that all legal avenues are exhausted and assistance is given to all other Indonesians on death row, not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in other countries.

After Ruyati's execution, Indonesian President susilo bambang Yudhoyono created a special task force from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and also Manpower and Law and Human Rights to focus on protecting Indonesian migrant workers. On Thursday, Yudhoyono announced that a government team, part of the task force, had been dispatched to Saudi Arabia. Thanks : CNN

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Agencies in Africa drought appeal

A group of leading British humanitarian agencies have been launching a joint appeal to help more than 10 million people in the grip of East Africa's worst drought in decades.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) will broadcast a series of televised appeals in a bid to drum up support for thousands of families caught up in the crisis.

Many have left their homes with children to trek barefoot for days across parched scrubland to Kenya in the hope of finding food and water.

According to the DEC, which co-ordinates responses to major disasters overseas, more than 1,300 people - the majority of whom are youngsters - are arriving in the Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya near the border with Somalia every day.

The camp is already believed to be the largest of its kind in the world with a population of around 350,000.

DEC chief executive Brendan Gormley stressed the need for a "long-term solution" but said the immediate priority was to prevent a "tragedy".

"Slowly but surely, these people have seen their lives fall apart - crops, livestock and now their homes have been taken by the drought," he said. "They've been left with no alternative but to seek shelter and life-saving help elsewhere. We have a duty to help quickly before the situation spirals out of control."

Large areas of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia are currently affected by the drought conditions, leaving millions in dire need.

Earlier this week, the Department for International Development (DfID) pledged £38 million to the World Food Programme which will provide the food aid that the DEC will be distributing. But its members are continuing to pursue further funding to bridge the shortfall in East Africa.

The DEC appeals will be broadcast on ITV/ITN, BBC, Sky, Channel 4 and Channel Five.
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2011, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 9, 2011

E.Coli Kill 30 people

BERLIN, June 9 (Xinhua) -- A 57-year-old man died of E. coli infection in Germany's Frankfurt Thursday, pushing the death toll from the bacteria to 30.

E.coli 0157The man had traveled with his wife to the city of Hamburg, an epicenter of the outbreak, Frankfurt authority said.

Another two deaths were reported in the state of Lower Saxony, including a 68-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman, while more than 2,800 people in 14 countries have been infected since the deadly E. coli outbroke.

German researchers detected again the deadly strain o104 of E. coli on the scraps of cucumbers in a dustbin in the eastern city of Magdeburg in the state Saxony-Anhalt on Wednesday.

German health minister Daniel Bahr expressed his cautious hope for the disease on Wednesday as the number of new infection is clearly going down.

Poisoned; The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans EatBut he also admitted there will be new cases and more deaths have to be expected, as Germany's national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute reported more than 300 infection in Germany on the same day.

The Robert Koch Institute also noticed the declining trend in new cases but it was not clear whether this was caused by people staying away from vegetables or the outbreak was truly waning.

Source :

Can E.Coli Bacteria become a future source of energy ? Click here for more

Friday, June 3, 2011

Japanese nuclear plant, water is the biggest worry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, nothing is more problematic right now than the contaminated water that covers the basement floors, leaks into the environment and endangers any worker who goes near it.
After dousing its reactors for 21 / 2 months in jury-rigged cooling efforts following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. must deal with the severe side-effects of that strategy by removing at least 15 million gallons of water — enough to fill the first five floors of the Empire State Building. 

But engineers planning that unprecedented clean-up job face questions about where they’ll put the water and how effectively they can filter its radioactive particles.
Tepco’s problem “resembles a board game with 16 squares and one empty spot,” said David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer who directs the Nuclear Safety Project of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Workers must inject the reactor cores with water to keep them cool. But that step guarantees that water will leak through the quake-damaged plant and into the basement-level turbine rooms. And the resulting radioactive water makes repair work all the harder. Which means that workers, still struggling to fix the usual re-circulation system, must continue to “feed and bleed” the reactors from above. 
Which means water levels continue to rise down below.
“They’re just perpetuating the problem and making a bigger and bigger mess,” said Lake Barrett, a nuclear engineer who directed the cleanup of of the hobbled Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania.

A potential turning point comes roughly two weeks from now, when Tepco plans to begin a treatment process in which water is sucked from the basement rooms and fed into a special tank, then treated with chemicals that eliminate its radioactivity. The process creates a byproduct of radioactive sludge, which is generally mixed with bitumen, poured into drums, then sealed and buried. The water itself can either be cycled back into reactors or discarded into the ocean.

The treatment system is being set up by Areva, a French company that uses the technology at its La Hague nuclear reprocessing plant, off the Normandy coast. Since 1997, Greenpeace — after taking water samples from La Hague’s discharge pipe — has made repeated claims that the supposedly decontaminated water in fact contains radioactivity levels above the regulatory limit. 

The process “is not 100 percent, but it’s better than nothing,” Lochbaum said. “The alternative: you let the water simply evaporate and radioactivity carries to all parts far and wide.”

Japan already has experienced substantial environmental problems from the failure at Fukushima, with authorities at the plant discharging contaminated water into the Pacific on at least three occasions. During a visit to Japan last week, Greenpeace officials presented data showing higher-than-legal in seaweed and shellfish that were collected more than 12 miles from the plant. The samples’ high concentrations of iodine-131 — which has a half-life of eight days — indicated that leaks from Fukushima Daiichi were ongoing, and “much larger than has been declared by Tepco so far,” said Jan Vande Putte, a Greenpeace radiation expert. 

Marine life soaking up radiation along Fukushima coast

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Apple can make a white iPad but not a white iPhone ?

How is it that a company that's been making electronics in white for at least a decade can't produce an iPhone 4 in that color?

Apple added another layer to that puzzle Wednesday, when it announced that the iPad 2 would come in both white and black models.

Sure enough, in a demonstration room after the announcement, attendees at Apple's event found a feast of test units in both colors. Flash back to June 2010, when Apple escorted reporters into a room, nary a block from here, filled with iPhone 4s fashioned in both black and white.

Needless to say, Apple has yet to sell the most recent iPhone model in a color that's not black. The older 3G and 3GS iPhones came in models with white backsides.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who unveiled both products, made a nod to the iPhone flub at Wednesday's event.
"We'll be shipping white from Day One," he said with emphasis, to laughs from the audience.

At least two key factors have prevented Apple from shipping a white version of the newest iPhone on Day One and even still on Day 251, Apple employees said.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak uses a white iPhone 4, which he says he assembled from parts made by a Chinese supplier and deemed to be defective by Apple. The device takes poor-quality photos when the camera's flash is used, and the white materials make the proximity sensor less reliable, he said.

 "The early parts Apple made were defective. So Apple decided not to put them out," Wozniak said in an interview with Engadget. "I took a picture with flash and without; the one with flash was ... like I took it through cellophane."

These design obstacles affect the latest version of the iPhone. The iPad 2 has a camera on the back, but its backside is made of aluminum, not of the white casing used on the front, and doesn't have a flash.
The new tablet computer also lacks a proximity sensor. That mechanism in the iPhone is used to detect when, say, it's pressed against an object, usually your head, to tell the display to turn off during a call. (Previous iPhones weren't affected because every version had a black-colored front.)

Instead of a proximity detector, the iPad 2 uses magnets embedded within the hardware to determine when Apple's Smart Case has been applied to the screen, thus telling the screen when to turn on and off. Ambient light sensors, which are also in iPhones, tell the device to adjust the screen's brightness.

Apple first announced a delay for the white iPhone on the day before the product's launch in June, saying it would be available in the second half of July. Then in July, Apple said the elusive white phone was coming later that year. Then in October, Apple again pushed its release to spring 2011.

Despite its mythical nature, the white model has not only become a grail for geeks, like Wozniak, willing to void their warranties and screw in some foreign parts. It's also a sort of status symbol around Apple's Cupertino, California, campus. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Jony Ive, the company's principal hardware designer, was seen tapping away on his white iPhone 4 in the product demonstration room after Wednesday's iPad 2 unveiling. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

New regime arrests Mubarak ministers

Egyptian authorities have arrested the former interior minister Habib el-Adly and two other former ministers who are under investigation for alleged corruption.
Authorities also arrested the steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz, once a prominent member of the ousted leader Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party.

Mr Adly, whose job gave him control over the 500,000-strong security forces, has been widely blamed for the deadly brutality used by riot police against demonstrators in massive protests that began on January 25 and forced Mr Mubarak to step down on February 11.

Fresh demonstrations were expected yesterday in Cairo in celebration of Mr Mubarak's departure and to maintain pressure on the military regime that replaced him to press forward with reform.

News of Mr Adly's arrest followed the detention on Thursday of the former housing minister Ahmed al-Maghrabi, the former tourism minister Zuheir Garana and Mr Ezz.
All four face allegations that range from money laundering to abuse of authority and squandering state wealth.

The protesters who ousted Mr Mubarak after 18 days of demonstrations often mentioned the deep corruption of the regime as a key reason behind their movement.

Security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media, said all four of the men would initially be held for 15 days.

All four had previously been banned from travel abroad and had their assets frozen, measures that are normally a prelude to a criminal investigation and possible trial.
They are among about a dozen former ministers and businessmen being investigated for alleged corruption or abuse of authority.

Most of them belonged to a clique of businessmen-turned-politicians who rallied around Mr Mubarak's son and one-time heir apparent, Gamal.

Gamal Mubarak, 47, rose rapidly through the ranks of the party during the past decade to become the most powerful politician in Egypt after his 82-year-old father.

Gamal and his circle of businessmen have been blamed for orchestrating economic reform that liberalised the economy but left the country's poor masses unable to reap the benefits of economic growth.

Mr Ezz, who used his wealth to promote his political career, is widely blamed for the fraud that marred parliamentary elections held in November and December. The ruling party won all but a small fraction of the chamber's 518 seats.

Mr Ezz denied the charge in a television interview.

Mr Adly served in his former post for 12 years.

The BBC reported that organisers predicted a million people would turn out for yesterday's demonstration.

''I am here now to monitor how the military is going to take things,'' said Nasser Abdel-Hamid, a 28-year-old information systems engineer. He is a member of the representative body of the Coalition of the Youth of the January 25 Revolution, the main grouping of the activist organisers.

The United States gave Egypt $US150 million in economic assistance on Thursday, saying it would help its ally move towards democracy.

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse

5 Headed snake in India

This is a snake found in a temple at Karnataka. Looking like a creature from mythology, multi-headed animals occur in real life as conjoined or parasitic twins.

It is not just in mythology that creatures are given to have two or more heads. This condition where an animal or human which has more than one head is termed as polycephaly caused due to developmental abnormality during gene mutation.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Obama to call for $53B for high-speed rail

 President Barack Obama is calling for a six-year, $53 billion spending plan for high-speed rail, as he seeks to use infrastructure spending to jump-start job creation.
An initial $8 billion in spending will be part of the budget plan Obama is set to release Monday. If Congress approves the plan, the money would go toward developing or improving trains that travel up to 250 mph, and connecting existing rail lines to new projects. The White House wouldn't say where the money for the rest of the program would come from, though it's likely Obama would seek funding in future budgets or transportation bills.

Obama's push for high-speed rail spending is part of his broad goal of creating jobs in the short-term and increasing American competitiveness for the future through new funding for infrastructure, education and innovation. During last month's State of the Union address, Obama said he wanted to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.

At the same time he's calling for new spending on sectors like high-speed rail in the upcoming budget, Obama also has pledged to cut overall spending as he seeks to bring down the nation's mounting deficit. The White House has said environmental programs for the Great Lakes, and block grants for community service and community development are among the programs that will face cuts.

But it's unlikely the cuts Obama proposes in the budget will be enough to appease the GOP. Republicans now controlling the House have promised to slash domestic agencies' budgets by nearly 20 percent for the coming year.

The White House has said cuts must be cautious, arguing that drastic reductions in spending could cause the still-fragile economic recovery to stall. Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday the administration wouldn't compromise when it comes to spending on the infrastructure, education and innovation programs Obama is touting.

"We cannot compromise. The rest of the world is not compromising," Biden said in Philadelphia at an event announcing the high-speed rail initiative.

Obama's call for increased spending on high-speed rail projects is nothing new. He's long seen the sector as an area of opportunity for creating jobs and improving the nation's transportation system. His administration awarded $10 billion in federal grants for high-speed rail projects last year, including $2.3 billion for California to begin work on an 800-mile-long, high-speed rail line tying Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles and San Diego; and $1.25 billion to Florida to build a rail line connecting Tampa on the West Coast with Orlando in the middle of the state, eventually going south to Miami.

Obama also laid out a plan last summer to invest $50 billion in high-speed rail, as well as highways, bridges, transit and airports, adding it to the first year of a six-year transportation bill. Congress didn't act on the proposal before adjourning last year, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he's confident lawmakers will take up the measure again and deliver a bill to Obama by August.

Thus far, Obama's plans to increase spending on high-speed rail have received a chilly a reception from Republicans. House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., urged the administration Tuesday to focus its spending on the crowded Northeast rail corridor, and not "squander limited taxpayer dollars on marginal projects."

Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican, urged the administration to involve the business community in its high-speed rail plans.

"I'm not in favor of additional monies that we don't have, to be spent on those projects, and would certainly look for ways to leverage the private sector to get it involved," Cantor said.
The White House said the six-year rail plan would include strong "Buy America" requirements that attract private sector investment in developing and operating passenger lines, and would ultimately create tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sex - Tape Scandal : Ariel `PeterPan' Gets Jail Time .

Great American Sex Scandal [VHS]An Indonesian court on Monday jailed one of Southeast Asia's biggest rock stars for more than three years after sex tapes of him with two television celebrities appeared online.

The sentence drew howls of outrage from singer Nazril Ariel's fans in the court and across the Malay-speaking world, while the "freeariel" hashtag shot to the top list of trending topics on microblogging site Twitter.

The 29-year-old frontman of rock band Peterpan was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for "giving an opportunity for others to spread, produce and prepare a pornographic video", the judges said in their verdict.

Six Degrees of Paris Hilton: Inside the Sex Tapes, Scandals, and Shakedowns of the New HollywoodIslamist hardliners pelted the police van with rotten eggs and tomatoes as he was escorted to the court, while fans of the husky-voiced heart-throb sang his song "Sahabat" (Friend) and chanted "Free Ariel".

Stick-wielding Islamists later beat people on the street outside the court as tempers flared and police struggled to control the two sides.

Wearing a dark green sweater over a white pinstriped shirt, Ariel looked calm as the sentence was handed down.

He told reporters who mobbed him as he was being led back into custody that he would consider an appeal. "I'll think about it," he said.

Fourplay/Full Exposure: The Sex Tapes ScandalHis fans in court, mostly young women, let out a collective cry of despair as chief Judge Singgih Budi Prakoso condemned him to jail.

"I'll miss him terribly because now I won't be able to see him on television. This is too severe because he didn't spread the videos. He should be set free," said sobbing 20-year-old student Yossi.

Muslim protesters also complained that the sentence was too light for a man they see as a threat to the moral fabric of the nation of 240 million people, 80 percent of whom are Muslims.

"Muslims are very disappointed with the sentence. According to sharia law adulterers should be stoned to death," said Abdul Qohar Al-Qadsi, an Islamist from hardline vigilante group the Islamic Defenders Front.

The two videos, apparently filmed on a mobile phone, showed Ariel having sex on separate occasions with female television celebrities Luna Maya and Cut Tari, who is married to another man.

Maya was seen chatting to Ariel in his holding cell before the sentence was handed down.
Full Exposure: The Sex Tape Scandals [VHS]The clips spread virally through Indonesian and Malaysian websites but Ariel has always denied distributing them, saying a studio engineer accessed his personal files from his laptop and uploaded them without his permission.

He surrendered to police on June 22 last year amid a national scandal over the X-rated videos. At one point police raided high school class rooms to search students' smartphones for signs of the illicit clips.

Dubbed "Peterporn" after Ariel's pop band, the scandal pushed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to warn that the archipelago was at risk of being "crushed by the information technology frenzy".

It strengthened calls for stricter monitoring and censorship of web usage, which has taken off among Indonesia's upwardly mobile urban youth.

Ok (Sex Tape Scandal, May 17, 2010)Research In Motion, the Canadian company that makes BlackBerry smartphones, started blocking access to pornographic websitesin Indonesia earlier in January in line with a communications ministry deadline.

Ariel was tried under an anti-pornography law passed by parliament in 2008 despite strong objections from minority groups and civil society organisations, who say the legislation tramples on freedom of expression. Source : By Irwan Firdaus,  Associated Press


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