January 22nd, 2010

Sufjan Smile

Rwanda genocide suspect arrested



French police say they have arrested a Rwandan doctor who is wanted in his homeland on charges of genocide and war crimes.

Sosthene Munyemana was detained by police on Wednesday in Bordeaux, in the southwest of France, under an extradition warrant issued by Rwanda.

The 45-year-old, who had been working in a hospital emergency ward in the region for eight years, had been on an Interpol list of wanted men since 2002.

Munyemana denies taking part in the 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 people died in the space of around three months.
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Source: Al-Jazeera English

Sosthene Munyemana was a close friend of Hutu leader Jean Kambanda, the only person to plead guilty in the Rwandan genocide. Dr. Munyemana, also known as "The Butcher of Tumba", killed people himself, by his own hand, with machetes and guns. He also used his status to incite peasants, and led them on bloody rampages.

I can't believe it's taken France this long to extradite him, but it's not really that surprising considering how complicit they were about the genocide. Plus, there's other genocidists for which France has denied Rwanda's requests for extradition. It's really quite foul.


"I know there is a God, because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil. I have seen him, I have smelled him and I have touched him. I know the devil exists and therefore I know there is a God." - Romeo Dallaire
Akuma River

soical media being used to save lives in Haiti


Pentagon’s Social Network Becomes Hub for Haiti Relief

•By Noah Shachtman
•January 21, 2010 |
•7:54 am |
•Categories: Info War

Photobucket


After three years of development, the military was done developing a new crisis-response communication tool. All that was left to do was to test the new communications and collaboration system in its element—disaster scenarios. The test, scheduled for this summer, was a simulated hurricane in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.


Then, last Tuesday, real disaster struck, rocking Haiti and sending relief organizations, governments, and people all over the world into crisis mode. Money and people have poured into Haiti to help address the devastating circumstances.

But with much of Haiti offline, from airports to ports to basic phone lines, communication, internally and externally, has been extremely tough. Without the ability to communicate with air traffic control or relief workers, it’s been hard to gauge what’s really going on in Haiti, to communicate what is needed, or to make sure aid goes where the need is.
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Texts, Tweets Saving Haitians From the Rubble
•By Nathan Hodge
•January 21, 2010 |
•2:52 pm |
•Categories: Info War

Photobucket

Relief workers in Haiti received an emergency text message Tuesday about a collapsed school, with children still alive in the rubble. A search-and-rescue team on the scene, however, couldn’t find the right location.

Then a group of volunteers in Boston pinpointed the origin of the message, sent using the 4636 SMS shortcode. They rapidly relayed the information back to Erik Rasmussen, a former top naval medical officer working with rescue teams in Haiti.

A team was then dispatched to the correct grid location. The coordinates were accurate to five decimal places.
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Christian Bale

Support swells for 3 accused SEALs

When a small team of Navy SEALs set out to capture one of Iraq's most-wanted terrorists in September, they never dreamed it would go so smoothly.

After all, Ahmed Hashim Abed, the suspected mastermind of a 2004 atrocity against U.S. contractors in Fallujah, was holed up in a safe house in Anbar province. Intelligence reports, which identified his location, said he kept a revolver under his pillow.

A helicopter set the SEALs down miles away. They silently approached the house and burst in to surprise a sleeping Abed. He never had a chance to pull the gun that, indeed, lay under his pillow. Subdued after a brief scuffle, he was marched to a landing site, where the helicopter took the SEALs and their captive back to Camp Schweidler.

"It went flawlessly," said a source close to the case. "They expected to get a medal."

This source, and others, recounted to The Washington Times how one of the most successful captures in the war's six years has turned into a nightmare for six SEALs involved in the mission.

Three have been charged with assault in their handling of the prize captive and with making false statements when questioned about the incident. Another three, including the platoon's two officer leaders, are refusing to talk unless granted immunity from prosecution. Their attorney told The Times that they did not see the detainee assaulted or know of any cover-up.

Four months after the incident, anger among the defendants' supporters has grown.

U.S. Central Command's treatment of the six SEALs as criminal suspects has stirred an outcry across the country. At least 100,000 people have signed up on a Facebook page, Support the Navy SEALs Who Captured Ahmed Hashim Abed. Members of Congress have written to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to intervene, which he has declined to do.

The Anbar-based SEALs arrived back in camp about 5 a.m. Abed stayed under guard several hours before he was transferred to Iraqi police, as was standard procedure.

It was during those several hours when Abed is said to have been assaulted.

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source
dah

China condemns 'groundless' US criticism of web control

Sourcity-source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8474011.stm

China has denounced US criticism of its internet controls, saying it could harm ties between the two countries.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Thursday for China to lift restrictions on the internet.

Mrs Clinton also urged Beijing to investigate Google's complaints that cyber attacks had originated in China.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the US should "respect the facts" and stop making "groundless accusations against China".

"The US has criticised China's policies to administer the internet, and insinuated that China restricts internet freedom," he said in a statement posted on the foreign ministry website.


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I suggest watching the video at the source where Chinese citizens give their perspective. It's pretty interesting.
Citadel

Time for your big SHOCKER of the day.

Gay men and lesbians are a politically unpopular and relatively powerless force in the United States, even though the public tends to think otherwise, a political scientist testified Wednesday during a historic trial on the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban.

Stanford University professor Gary M. Segura cited hate crime statistics, anti-gay remarks by elected officials, the relatively low number of gay office holders nationwide, and the success rate of ballot initiatives such as California's Proposition 8 to argue that gays do not possess a meaningful degree of political power.

''By any measure, gays and lesbians would have to be understood as a minority faction,'' Segura said. ''People who accept the normativity of heterosexuality have held power essentially forever.''

Lawyers for two same-sex couples suing to overturn Proposition 8 -- California's gay marriage ban -- called Segura to the witness stand to buttress their argument that gays are a disadvantaged group that deserves the same protections from discrimination afforded other vulnerable minorities under the U.S. Constitution.

Segura said Proposition 8 was part of a chain of ballot-box defeats for the gay rights movement dating back to the 1970s, including 33 of the 34 measures across the country dealing with marriage.

''There is no group in American society that has been targeted with ballot initiatives more than gays and lesbians,'' he said.

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Via the NY Times.
normal

Goldman Sachs to The Little People: "Let Them Eat Cake and Bullets"

Goldman Sachs Had Bomb-Sniffing Dogs, Police Barricades At Its Headquarters Before Earnings Announcement

As Goldman Sachs prepared to announce its fourth quarter earnings and employee compensation levels yesterday, the bank had bomb-sniffing dogs and police barricades on hand at its New York City headquarters, the New York Post reports.


The decision to boost security as its offices was apparently driven by growing fervor over the bank's huge profits and bonuses.
Yesterday, the bank announced that it earned $13.4 billion for the year, and set aside $16 billion for employee compensation. Goldman was widely expected to set aside approximately $20 billion for employee pay, but CFO David Viniar suggested yesterday in a call with reporters that the bank wasn't blind to the "pain and suffering in the world" and "wasn't deaf to the calls for restraint."
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by alexia_drake

Don't panic Haiti, the Scientologists are coming!

For our good friends from the church of L Ron, it's not so much a tragedy as an opportunity

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Psychopath, conman, liar, fantasist, fraudster, bully, tax evader, megalomaniac – it's fair to say L Ron Hubbard's death was a blow to global humanitarianism. Happily, there is a silver lining to the cloud that has hung over Earth since the founder of Scientology shed his corporeal form in 1986. That silver- lining is the high profile, expansionist figures who represent his organisation today – and the good news is that they're turning their thoughts to Haiti.

Were an idiot like you to itemise the myriad things that this most wretched of disaster zones currently lacked, chances are you'd omit "militant Scientologists who claim post-traumatic stress is a conspiracy created by the evil psychiatric profession, and who believe the correct response to extreme shock is to touch sufferers with one finger, before attempting to convert them to the ways of Hubbard".

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Source
' jules

Shenanigans Friday: January 22, 2010.

"LOLlow me around. I don't care. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They'd be very bored."-Gary Hart
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by ladypolitik, as spotted on 4chan
hate

Interesting piece...

January 21, 2010
Op-Ed Columnist
Some Frank Talk About Haiti
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF


On my blog, a woman named Mona pointed to Haitian corruption and declared: “I won’t send money because I know what will happen to it.” Another reader attributed Haiti’s poverty to “the low I.Q. of the 9 million people there,” and added: “It is all very sad and cannot be fixed.”

“Giving money to Haiti and other third-world countries is like throwing money in the toilet,” another commenter said. A fourth asserted: “Haiti is a money pit. Dumping billions of dollars into it has proven futile. ... America is deeply in debt, and we can’t afford it.”

Not everyone is so frank, but the subtext of much of the discussion of Haiti is despair about both Haiti and foreign aid. Pat Robertson, the religious broadcaster, went furthest by suggesting that Haiti’s earthquake flowed from a pact with the devil more than two centuries ago. While it’s not for a journalist to nitpick a minister’s theological credentials, that implication of belated seismic revenge on Haitian children seems defamatory of God.

Americans have also responded with a huge outpouring of assistance, including more than $22 million raised by the Red Cross from text messages alone. But for those with doubts, let’s have a frank discussion of Haiti’s problems:

Why is Haiti so poor? Is it because Haitians are dimwitted or incapable of getting their act together?

Haiti isn’t impoverished because the devil got his due; it’s impoverished partly because of debts due. France imposed a huge debt that strangled Haiti. And when foreigners weren’t looting Haiti, its own rulers were.


The greatest predation was the deforestation of Haiti, so that only 2 percent of the country is forested today. Some trees have been — and continue to be — cut by local peasants, but many were destroyed either by foreigners or to pay off debts to foreigners. Last year, I drove across the island of Hispaniola, and it was surreal: You traverse what in places is a Haitian moonscape until you reach the border with the Dominican Republic — and jungle.

Without trees, Haiti lost its topsoil through erosion, crippling agriculture.

To visit Haiti is to know that its problem isn’t its people. They are its treasure — smart, industrious and hospitable — and Haitians tend to be successful in the United States (and everywhere but in Haiti).

Can our billions in aid to Haitians accomplish anything? After all, a Wall Street Journal column argues, “To help Haiti, end foreign aid.”

First, don’t exaggerate how much we give or they get.

Haiti ranks 42nd among poor countries in worldwide aid received per person ($103 in 2008, more than one-quarter of which comes from the United States). David Roodman of the Center for Global Development calculates that in 2008, official American aid to Haiti amounted to 92 cents per American.

The United States gives more to Haiti than any other country. But it ranks 11th in per capita giving. Canadians give five times as much per person as we do.

As for whether aid promotes economic growth, that’s a bitter and unresolved argument. But even the leading critics of aid — William Easterly, a New York University economist, and Dambisa Moyo, a banker turned author — believe in assisting Haiti after the earthquake.

“I think we have a moral imperative,” Ms. Moyo told me. “I do believe the international community should act.”

Likewise, Professor Easterly said: “Of course, I am in favor of aid to Haiti earthquake victims!”

So, is Haiti hopeless? Is Bill O’Reilly right? He said: “Once again, we will do more than anyone else on the planet, and one year from today Haiti will be just as bad as it is right now.”

No, he’s not right. And this is the most pernicious myth of all. In fact, Haiti in recent years has been much better managed under President René Préval and has shown signs of being on the mend.

Far more than most other impoverished countries — particularly those in Africa — Haiti could plausibly turn itself around. It has an excellent geographic location, there are no regional wars, and it could boom if it could just export to the American market.

A report for the United Nations by a prominent British economist, Paul Collier, outlined the best strategy for Haiti: building garment factories. That idea (sweatshops!) may sound horrific to Americans. But it’s a strategy that has worked for other countries, such as Bangladesh, and Haitians in the slums would tell you that their most fervent wish is for jobs. A few dozen major shirt factories could be transformational for Haiti.

So in the coming months as we help Haitians rebuild, let’s dispatch not only aid workers, but also business investors. Haiti desperately needs new schools and hospitals, but also new factories.

And let’s challenge the myth that because Haiti has been poor, it always will be. That kind of self-fulfilling fatalism may be the biggest threat of all to Haiti, the real pact with the devil.

Source

As it was I wanted to bold the whole damn article. There is so much ignorance going around about Haiti that my slap hand seems to be always itchy. I must admit I'm still kind of "Weeeeell..." about the whole factory idea.
WW-Toby-Tempt

If you're not mad about this, then you're just not paying attention



The Supreme Court's Citizen United Decision Is Terrifying

If you're looking for a concise way of capturing today's Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, how about: "We are all royally, hopelessly fucked for the rest of recorded time"? It's coarse, I know, but it really does the trick.

As you may have heard, in a 5-4 decision, the SCOTUS essentially went at the teeth of McCain-Feingold reform with hammer and tongs, leaving America in a "David After Dentist" state, wailing, "What's happening? Is this going to be forever?" Except that its not the anesthetic talking -- it's the very real, excruciating pain.

In one swoop, the court did away with nearly everything in federal campaign finance law, allowing corporations free reign to inject as much money as they jolly well please into federal campaigns. The decision completes what Slate's Dahlia Lithwick calls "The Pinocchio Project," in which the Court transforms "a corporation into a real live boy," complete with personhood, free-speech rights and the unfettered opportunity to drown the body politic in a tidal wave of perverse incentives.

Here's what President Barack Obama had to say about this:

"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics," said President Obama in a statement. "It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans... That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision."
 

Oh, but the president is being charitable! Here are some data points to chew on:

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Source

I have serious doubts that the justices who decided in favor of this decision have legitimately thought out the long-term effects that will inevitably occur as a result of basically giving corporations the keys to the candy store here.  My thought is that it will be bad for everyone, no matter what your political leanings are.....what possible remedies for this is there?  Can a Supreme Court decision be reversed or nullified in some way once it's determined that it was the stupidest idea imaginable?
Christian Bale

TSA FAIL: Screener plants white powder on passenger


Rebecca Solomon said the security worker's action "was such a violation."


In the tense new world of air travel, we're stripped of shoes, told not to take too much shampoo on board, frowned on if we crack a smile.

The last thing we expect is a joke from a Transportation Security Administration screener - particularly one this stupid.

Rebecca Solomon is 22 and a student at the University of Michigan, and on Jan. 5 she was flying back to school after holiday break. She made sure she arrived at Philadelphia International Airport 90 minutes before takeoff, given the new regulations.

She would be flying into Detroit on Northwest Airlines, the same city and carrier involved in the attempted bombing on Christmas, just 10 days before. She was tense.

What happened to her lasted only 20 seconds, but she says they were the longest 20 seconds of her life.

After pulling her laptop out of her carry-on bag, sliding the items through the scanning machines, and walking through a detector, she went to collect her things.

A TSA worker was staring at her. He motioned her toward him.

Then he pulled a small, clear plastic bag from her carry-on - the sort of baggie that a pair of earrings might come in. Inside the bag was fine, white powder.

She remembers his words: "Where did you get it?"

Two thoughts came to her in a jumble: A terrorist was using her to sneak bomb-detonating materials on the plane. Or a drug dealer had made her an unwitting mule, planting coke or some other trouble in her bag while she wasn't looking.

She'd left her carry-on by her feet as she handed her license and boarding pass to a security agent at the beginning of the line.

Answer truthfully, the TSA worker informed her, and everything will be OK.

Solomon, 5-foot-3 and traveling alone, looked up at the man in the black shirt and fought back tears.

Put yourself in her place and count out 20 seconds. Her heart pounded. She started to sweat. She panicked at having to explain something she couldn't.

Now picture her expression as the TSA employee started to smile.

Just kidding, he said. He waved the baggie. It was his.

And so she collected her things, stunned, and the tears began to fall.

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ramona is happy

Opening Statements Begin in Scott Roeder's Trial



WICHITA — A youth director at the church where Wichita abortion provider George Tiller went testified about the morning he was shot.

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SOURCE: http://www.kansas.com/news/tiller/story/1148087.html

If anyone is interested, a local station has online streaming coverage: http://www.ksn.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoId=26&navCatId=26

And for Twitter updates, @rsylvester is live Tweeting from the courtroom.
normal

Fox News To Support Legalization of Pot But Only for Republicans... WUT?

Fox host defends Republicans’ right to smoke pot(VIDEO)

Even Republicans should be able to get stoned, according to a Fox News anchor. While interviewing Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, Fox News' Gretchen Carlson found herself in the curious position of advocating for marijuana rights Friday.


Chong told Carlson that he wants to see marijuana legalized -- but not for Republicans. "We want to legalize pot for everyone that wants to smoke it. You know, we don't want to legalize it for Republicans."

Carlson quickly came to the defense of stoners in the GOP. "That wouldn't be fair. Would it?" asked Carlson. "I mean being fair and balanced, if you want to legalize it shouldn't you want to legalize it for everyone?"

"I want to legalize it for everyone," answered Marin.

This isn't the first time that the duo have pulled politics into their desire for legalization.

Only a week ago, the pair said they wanted to smoke with Sarah Palin. Marin believes she grows it herself in Alaska while Chong told Politico, "she answered a lot of questions like a stoner."

The stars of "Up in Smoke" received "The Trailblazer Award" from the Marijuana Policy Project for their advocacy of marijuana legalization earlier this month. The two have now embarked on the "Get it Legal" comedy tour.

This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast Jan. 22, 2010.
hmmmmmmm

Jon Stewart's Special Comment

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Special Comment - Keith Olbermann's Name-Calling
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

As much as I love Keith and his commentary, he really does need a smackdown once in a while. >_>

ETA: Alternate links: here and here (Canada only).  Sorry internationals, I didn't realize Comedy Central was blocked outside the US. D:

(no subject)

The letters and emails come in a daily tide. “Filth!” they cry. “Shame on you”; “You are a very sick person”; “The soul that sinneth shall DIE”. For the past six months, the head of Glasgow’s museums and art has been under siege from Christian fundamentalists, who have vowed to oust her from her job.

Dr Bridget McConnell, head of Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG), the £100 million charity in charge of the city’s culture, says she is alarmed by what she describes as a “personal witchhunt” against her.

“It is almost like being physically abused,” she said. “You get knocked down by it every day and you pick yourself up, but then you come in the next morning and it happens all over again. It’s attrition.”

Since July, when a row broke out over an art exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) featuring homosexuality and religion in which comments were written on a Bible, Dr McConnell — whose organisation funded the exhibition — has been targeted by an organised group of protesters.

She has received up to 2,000 letters, e-mails and phone calls attacking her and objecting to the art show. There have been petitions and personal visits to her office. Her office has been routinely picketed by groups with a loud hailer, calling upon her to repent, and her staff have been harassed.

Police are known to be concerned at the targeting of Dr McConnell and on at least one occasion officers had to be called to demonstrations outside the art gallery when staff were “seriously intimidated”.

On a website linked to an English organisation called Christian Watch, the campaigners openly declare their intention is to have Dr McConnell removed from her post.

Notably, she has also featured on the front page of the BNP newsletter, in an article which claimed that her “misuse” of public money on this exhibition helped the case for reintroducing the criminalisation of homosexuality.

Sermons have been preached in Roman Catholic churches across Glasgow condemning the art exhibition and this week one man — Paul Mansbacher, a fundamentalist Protestant who has been banned from the Free Church of Scotland — wrote to the Archdiocese of Glasgow demanding that she be “officially and publicly excommunicated from the Catholic Church” for what he described as the funding of “blasphemous events”.

Dr McConnell, speaking exclusively to The Times, said: “It is not an exaggeration to say that on every working day from August last year until now I have had to deal with some protest concerning this issue. What is deeply worrying is the fact that those who are protesting are not simply interested in expressing a difference of opinion — which they are entitled to — but want to silence those they do not agree with. The menace, intimidation and misogny expressed in a great deal of the correspondence is deeply worrying.
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Source: The Times

Thanks to the mind numbing stupidity of our Supreme Court, anyone can contribute to election finance

Politico's Josh Gerstein has a great story today pointing out that, in the wake of yesterday's Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections, there's really nothing to stop foreign companies from supporting or opposing US candidates. It would be as easy as setting up a US subsidiary and having the subsidiary spend the money. Some of Gerstein's sources argue that foreign corporations would be reluctant to interfere in US politics because it could bring bad press. But that doesn't seem like much of a deterrent to the worst corporations. Do foreign corporations like Gazprom that are largely state-owned really care what the US press writes about them? Law professor Mark Kleiman has more

One aspect of the ruling that hasn’t gathered much attention: as far as I can tell, the analysis doesn’t distinguish between domestic and foreign corporations.  Not that it would matter much, since a foreign corporation can always establish a domestic subsidiary, or buy an American company:   Cities Service, for example, is a unit of PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company.  So the ruling allows Hugo Chavez to spend as much money as he wants to helping and harming American politicians.   If the Russian, Saudi, and Chinese governments don’t currently have appropriate vehicles for doing so, you can count on it:  they soon will.

Nor is this a problem that can be handled by "disclosure."  The ad on TV praising the opponent of the congressman who did something to annoy Hugo Chavez won’t say "Paid for by Hugo Chavez."  It will say "Paid for by Citizens for Truth, Justice, and the American Way," which in turn will have gotten a contribution from "Americans for Niceness," which in turn will have gotten a contribution from a lobbyist for a subsidiary of Cities Service that no one has ever heard of.

This week just keeps getting better.

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/01/scotus-foreign-corporations-have-rights-too


Guys, I am beyond pissed about this. This is exactly what we don't need. Anyone remember all the Blue Cross contributions to Senators who don't support the health care bills?! 
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movies | Impish Fräulein2

ontd_political Photo of the Day: Jan 22, 2010.


Serbian Orthodox Church leaders attend the liturgy in Belgrade's Congregational church, Serbia, Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. The Holy Meeting of the Serbian Orthodox Church has 44 members and they are all expected to vote Friday for the election of the 45th Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.


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Darko Vojinovic | AP Photo
pen

Aussie wild camels wanted by the Saudi Arabians

Interesting factoid, most camels in the world are domesticated, but not in Australia, they were introduced by Afghanis for land exploration and transport bout 100 years ago.
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CAMEL owners in Saudi Arabia have thrown a lifeline to thousands of the wild animals facing a cull in Australia, offering homes to feral camels in response to an internet campaign.

According to the newspaper, Salim al-Hajjaji told English-language Saudi daily Arab News: ''I own more than 80 camels but I am quite willing to receive as many more from Australia.''


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B.A.P - Himchan - Mechanichan

Orkin Says "Screw This", Wants out of HOF

Radio Ranch founder and Creative Director Dick Orkin is asking the NAB to remove his plaque from the Broadcast Hall of Fame because the hall also honors Premiere Radio Networks personality Rush Limbaugh.

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Source has the full letter.

Ebert tweeted this and I thought it was amazing, so I figured I'd share.  Not that i think much will come of it, but it would be awesome if other broadcasters took this way as protest to Limbaugh being a vile human being.
normal

Bank of America Looses Another Customer. New Mexico Closes Its Account.

New Mexico State Legislator Introduces Bill To Move State's Money

New Mexico state representative Brian Egolf has introduced a bill to move the state's money out of Bank of America and into banks and credit unions chartered in New Mexico.

"I saw the Move Your Money video the day it came out and thought it made a lot of sense," Egolf told HuffPost.

So the Santa Fe Democrat wants to move as much money as he possibly can -- that would be $1.4 billion.


Egolf's bill would direct the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration to "give a preference to a community bank to act as the fiscal agent of the general fund operating cash depository account."
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Akuma River

China = next great ecconomic crash

China: the world’s next great economic crash

By Gordon G. Chang Gordon G. Chang – Thu Jan 21, 12:41 pm ET
New York – Has the global economy recovered? Forecasters say there will be an uptick this year of 2.4 percent, but they’re forgetting something. China could fail soon, and, if it does, the world’s most populous state will drag the rest of us down.

At this moment, a Chinese crisis seems like the last thing we should be worried about. After all, last year China overtook America as the planet’s largest car market and passed Germany as the biggest exporter.

On Thursday, Beijing announced that growth for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 10.7 percent and 8.7 percent for the entire year. Some analysts said the numbers were so strong that the country zoomed past Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy. Stock markets, property prices, you name it: Everything Chinese is soaring.
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Christian Bale

Man charged for calling Mugabe a goblin

The joint head of the body meant to draft a new democratic constitution for Zimbabwe has been charged with insulting President Mugabe by calling him a goblin, lawyers have confirmed.



Douglas Mwonzora, an parliamentarian for prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and co-chairman of the key parliamentary constitutional commission, allegedly told MDC supporters that the 85-year-old Mugabe was a goblin.

The politician faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail if found guilty.

In Zimbabwean traditional mythology goblins are feared, hideous creatures with evil powers.

The joint head of the body meant to draft a new democratic constitution for Zimbabwe has been charged with insulting President Mugabe by calling him a goblin, lawyers confirmed Friday.

Mwonzora made the remarks nearly a year ago at a political rally ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections but was only summonsed on Monday this week, said lawyer Lewis Uriri.

The MDC won the elections but was then forced into a second round of the presidential ballot which was preceded by a wave of state-run violence that saw at least 100 MDC supporters murdered and thousands tortured and made homeless.

Mugabe was declared the winner after Tsvangirai withdrew because of the violence, and the poll was universally denounced as a fraud.

Shortly after, Southern African nations intervened to set up the inauguration of an unequal power-sharing government between Tsvangirai and Mugabe in which the autocrat controls the security forces.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and fined or jailed under Zimbabwean laws that make it an offence to make derisory comments about Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state who has been in power for nearly 30 years.

On Tuesday, an MDC provincial chairman in southern Zimbabwe was arrested for telling a party rally that the people must not allow Mugabe to cheat them in elections again.

The constitutional commission was set up under the coalition agreement, but progress has been bogged down by continual blockading by ZANU(PF) officials who, analysts say, fear they will be swamped in a democratic election held under a constitution guaranteeing human rights and the rule of law.

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Akuma River

Hope for Haiti Live Telethon is on tonight - LIVE POST!

MTV's 'Hope For Haiti' Telethon Takes A Cue From Past All-Star Relief Efforts
Benefits for Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 and the Asian tsunami similarly called on celebs to help raise money.
By Jayson Rodriguez



George Clooney and Wyclef Jean have been burning the midnight oil, working furiously to raise funds and secure participants for the "Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief" telethon, presented by MTV Networks on Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
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Wyclef Jean Joins George Clooney To Lead MTV's 'Hope For Haiti' Telethon
Two-hour global telethon will air Friday, January 22.
By Eric Ditzian



Wyclef Jean will join George Clooney and CNN's Anderson Cooper in hosting MTV Networks' "Hope for Haiti," the global telethon to air commercial-free across ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, BET, the CW, HBO, MTV, VH1 and CMT on Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

The telethon will be hosted by Clooney in Los Angeles, Jean in New York and Cooper in Haiti. All donations will directly benefit Oxfam America, Partners in Health, Red Cross, UNICEF and Wyclef's Yele Haiti Foundation.

"Hope for Haiti" will feature performances and celebrity appearances to be announced in the coming days, as well as live news reports from CNN. "Hope for Haiti" will also be made available to MTV Networks International and CNN International.

Facebook and MySpace have signed on as official social-media partners to help steer viewers to the telethon and drive donations.

Yele Haiti has already raised $2 million through text-message donations, the organization announced on Friday (January 15). By texting "Yele" to 501501, mobile users can donate $5 to relief efforts. Head here to learn more about what you can do to help with relief efforts.

"This is apocalypse," Jean said about the destruction in his home country. "We spent the day picking up dead bodies, all day that's what we did. There's so much bodies in the streets that the morgues are filled up, the cemeteries are filled up."

Head here to learn more about what you can do to help with earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti, and for more information, see THINK mtv.

How many of you plan on watching it? I am. And which channel? I'm thinking ABC.

LINKS:
TVPC <- live broadcasts of most networks worldwide will NOT work with FF, IE is best.
Live.CNN.com <- will have it online when the broadcast starts at about 8PM ET/PT 7PM Central.

To DONATE:
1-877-99-Haiti or Hope for Haiti (twitter map on Haiti mentions)
Or text GIVE to 50555 (US only)

Judge: Polanski Must Return To U.S. For Sentencing



A Los Angeles judge has ruled Roman Polanski must return to the U.S. to be sentenced in a decades-old sex case.

Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza's ruling Friday is likely to be appealed.

Attorneys for the 76-year-old Polanski have argued their client should be sentenced in abstentia to time already served after pleading guilty in 1978 to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

Prosecutors insist Polanski must appear in a Los Angeles courtroom and not be permitted to manipulate the justice system.

Polanski, arrested on a U.S. warrant, spent more than 60 days in a Swiss jail before being transferred to house arrest in his Swiss vacation home Dec. 4.

An attorney for Polanski's victim also urged Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza to have the director sentenced in absentia.

In court documents, Polanski's attorneys said the late Superior Court Judge Laurence J. Rittenband sentenced the director to a diagnostic study at a California prison where he served 42 days.

Although the judge told attorneys this would be Polanski's full sentence he later indicated he was going to renege on the bargain and give him a harsher sentence at a scheduled hearing.

Polanski fled to France in 1978 and has been a fugitive ever since.

His attorneys said the judge's promise is binding and Polanski has served his full sentence. They have asked Espinoza for a full hearing with witnesses about allegations of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct in the case.

Polanski's victim, Samantha Geimer, also would like the director sentenced in absentia. Her attorney accused prosecutors of violating the California Constitution when they failed to tell Geimer of their plans to seek Polanski's extradition to the U.S.

On Thursday, prosecutors disputed the allegations in court documents, saying they've repeatedly invited Geimer and her attorney to discuss the case, but the meetings never occurred. They reiterated that Polanski must surrender or be extradited to resolve the case.

Geimer was 13 when she met Polanski for a modeling shoot in Los Angeles in 1977. Polanski was accused of plying her with champagne and part of a Quaalude pill then raping her at Jack Nicholson's house.

He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy. He later pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

source