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Thread: News Blurbs

  1. #1

    News Blurbs

    Just a thread for little snippets on current events, social issues, break throughs in medical research, or anything of interest from around the world. Don't post enitre articles, just some brief summary or headline and a link.

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    President Obama made a midnight dash to Dover Air Force Base late Wednesday to honor the return of at least 18 fallen Americans, absorbing the ultimate cost of war as the United States endures its deadliest month of the Afghanistan campaign. He also met privately with families of the fallen. Obama arrived on the base at 12:34 a.m. Thursday and returned to the White House before dawn.

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    Five young American Muslims held in Pakistan

    • Men, aged 19 to 25, said to have contacted militants
    • FBI alerted by Muslim community in the US

    Five American Muslims have been arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of making contact with an al-Qaida-funded militant group and were believed to be on their way to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against US forces.

    The five, aged 19 to 25, formed a close-knit social group in the Alexandria area of Virginia, half an hour's drive from Washington.

    They all disappeared from their family homes in late November and it appears that the alarm was first sounded by relatives concerned about what they were going to do.

    Family members had initially thought the men were travelling within the US. But suspicions were aroused when one of them phoned home saying he was in the US, while the caller ID suggested he was overseas.

    The families contacted their imams, who in turn contacted the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which alerted the FBI that same day.

    The five men are reported to have left behind an 11-minute video featuring war scenes and statements about the defence of Muslims that has been interpreted by some as a farewell message.

    The council would not comment on the video, but it has launched a campaign to try to dissuade young Muslims who might be attracted to extremist views and to counter distortions of the teachings of the Koran by extremists.

    The arrests, which took place yesterday, come at a time of mounting anxiety in the US about the incidence of American citizens engaging in jihadist activities – a phenomenon of "homegrown" terrorism that has previously been considered rare in the country.

    Investigations are continuing into the Fort Hood shooting on 5 November in which an American-born Muslim with some contact with radical Islam killed 13 people, and yesterdayon Wednesday a man from Chicago, David Headley, pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped last year's attack on Mumbai.

    Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the council, mindful of how sensitive relations with the Muslim community are in the US at present, said: "I think the main point is the Muslim community took the lead in taking this to the law enforcement agencies, and that is a good sign.

    Nihad Awad, the council's executive director, said: "We understand, unfortunately, this incident will be exploited by the cottage industry of Muslim bashers to try to marginalise Muslims in America."

    The five Americans being held were identified in Pakistan as Ramy Zamzam, Eman Yasir, Waqar Hasan, Ahmad A Mini and Umer Farooq. All are US citizens: two were born in Pakistan, one is of Yemeni origin and another of Egyptian origin.

    Pakistani authorities believe the men made contact with extremists via YouTube. They are said to have arrived in Karachi on 30 November and made approaches to militant groups there and in Lahore but to have been rebuffed, apparently because they lacked references.

    They then moved to Sarghoda, in the north of Punjab province, where they were in touch with representatives of Jaish-e-Muhammad, a militant group – believed to be funded by Osama bin Laden – whose members have been involved in several bombings, and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which the UN accuses of orchestrating the Mumbai attacks.

    According to the New York Times, the men stayed in the house of Farooq's uncle. His father, Khalid, was also at the house and was arrested.

    FBI investigators are in Sarghoda to question the five. The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, confirmed that the US had access to the detainees, which she described as "part of the usual outreach" made in such cases by the US government.

    Barack Obama did not refer directly to the arrests today, but did say: "We have to constantly be mindful that some of these twisted ideologies are available over the internet."

    In Oslo to accept the Nobel peace prize, he made a point of praising the "extraordinary contributions of the Muslim-American community and how they have been woven into the fabric of our nation in a seamless fashion."

    FBI agents have already been in contact with associates and relatives of one of the five, Zamzam. He is a dental student at Howard University, Washington DC, who graduated earlier this year in biology and chemistry.

    Samirah Ali, president of the university's Muslim student group, said he had talked to the FBI last week about Zamzam, whom he had known for three years. Zamzam had never shown militant leanings. "He's a very nice guy, very cordial, very friendly," Ali told Associated Press.

    One of Zamzam's younger brothers, interviewed by AP at the family's apartment in Alexandria, said: "He's a good guy. He's a normal Joe."
    Five young American Muslims held in Pakistan | World news | The Guardian

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    Swine flu pandemic 'less lethal than expected'

    A study by the chief medical officer has revealed that there have been only 26 fatalities out of every 100,000 people with the illness

    Swine flu pandemic 'less lethal than expected' | World news |

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    St Kitts PM rules out December election, St Lucia makes tax changes, investigators may be forced to close a million dollar probe in here around_the_region_09_12_09

  6. #6
    Loyalty to Loyalty Taj's Avatar Taj is offline
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    Australia insists no racist angle in attack on Indian - Hindustan Times

    Days after India asked Australia to take urgent action against those behind the murder of an Indian student a week ago, a 29-year-old Indian was set ablaze Saturday by four unidentified attackers in Melbourne, putting bilateral ties under strain. The victim was admitted to hospital, where his condition was described as "not critical".

    The Australian government condemned the incident but insisted that it was not racially motivated.

    The gruesome attack on Jaspreet Singh in the early hours of Saturday took place a week after Nitin Garg, a 21-year-old Indian student, was fatally stabbed in Melbourne, provoking India to renew its warning to the Australian authorities to ensure the security of its students.

    Garg's body was flown here from Melbourne via Dubai Saturday afternoon and handed over to his family.

    Cartoon in indian paper depicting QV police

    Black Iraqis speak of Discrimination
    The election of Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency was celebrated with special fervor by Iraqis of African descent in the southern port city of Basra.

    Although they have lived in Iraq for more than 1,000 years, the black Basrawis say they are still discriminated against because of the color of their skin, and they see Obama as a role model. Long relegated to menial jobs or work as musicians and dancers, some of them have recently formed a group to advance their civil rights.

    Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Black Iraqis claim discrimination (video also)
    Black Iraqis in the southern province of Basra are complaining of discrimination, saying they are not fairly represented in the state.

    African Iraqis have lived in the country for centuries and now number more than one million.

    Many of them are descendants of African slaves brought to Iraq. Many Iraqis still refer to them by their ancestral name, abeed - meaning slaves.

    Salem Shaaban is a member of the Free Movement of Iraqis, advocating more rights for African Iraqis.

    He says black people in Iraq feel there is a tradition of discrimination against them in the society.

    "For example when two people fight in the street and one is black and the other is white, they say X had a fight with the slave. It really hurts."
    “A sharp knife never proclaims it’s sharpness to the world…but the first to fall against it becomes it’s advocate.”

    You can put any face behind a mask but be careful cos someone else might be pretending. You might not be the only one with a secret -- Cassie/Gretel

  7. #7
    Digicel gives 5 million to Haiti recovery and T&T Foreign affairs Minister speaks about the Haitian tragedy

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    Loyalty to Loyalty Taj's Avatar Taj is offline
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    States Hold Sex Offenders after they have Served their Time

    Correction Appended

    The decision by New York to confine sex offenders beyond their prison terms places the state at the forefront of a growing national movement that is popular with politicians and voters. But such programs have almost never met a stated purpose of treating the worst criminals until they no longer pose a threat.
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    Locked Away
    First of Three Articles

    Next: Inside the troubled center for sex offenders in Florida.
    Sex Offenders and Civil CommitmentInteractive Feature
    Sex Offenders and Civil Commitment
    Civil Commitment Around the CountryGraphic
    Civil Commitment Around the Country
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    Kevin J. Miyazaki for The New York Times

    BALANCING SECURITY AND THERAPY: Sex offenders confined at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston, Wis., are monitored by a series of closed-circuit cameras.

    About 2,700 pedophiles, rapists and other sexual offenders are already being held indefinitely, mostly in special treatment centers, under so-called civil commitment programs in 19 states, which on average cost taxpayers four times more than keeping the offenders in prison.

    In announcing a deal with legislative leaders on Thursday, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, suggested that New York’s proposed civil commitment law would “become a national model” and go well beyond confining the most violent predators to also include mental health treatment and intensive supervised release for offenders.

    “No one has a bill like this, nobody,” said State Senator Dale M. Volker, a Republican from western New York and a leading proponent in the Legislature of civil confinement.

    But in state after state, such expectations have fallen short. The United States Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the laws in part because their aim is to furnish treatment if possible, not punish someone twice for the same crime. Yet only a small fraction of committed offenders have ever completed treatment to the point where they could be released free and clear.

    Leroy Hendricks, a convicted child molester in Kansas, finished his prison term 13 years ago, but he remains locked up at a cost to taxpayers in that state of $185,000 a year — more than eight times the cost of keeping someone in prison there.

    Mr. Hendricks, who is 72 and unsuccessfully challenged his confinement in the Supreme Court, spends most days in a wheelchair or leaning on a cane, because of diabetes, circulation ailments and the effects of a stroke. He may not live long enough to “graduate” from treatment.

    Few ever make such progress: Nationwide, of the 250 offenders released unconditionally since the first law was passed in 1990, about half of them were let go on legal or technical grounds unrelated to treatment.

    Still, political leaders, like those in New York, are vastly expanding such programs to keep large numbers of rapists and pedophiles off the streets after their prison terms in a response to public fury over grisly sex crimes.

    In Coalinga, Calif., a $388 million facility will allow the state to greatly expand the offenders it holds to 1,500. Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, Virginia and Wisconsin are also adding beds.

    At the federal level, President Bush has signed a law offering money to states that commit sex offenders beyond their prison terms, and the Justice Department is creating a civil commitment program for federal prisoners.

    Even with the enthusiasm among politicians, an examination by The New York Times of the existing programs found they have failed in a number of areas:

    ¶Sex offenders selected for commitment are not always the most violent; some exhibitionists are chosen, for example, while rapists are passed over. And some are past the age at which some scientists consider them most dangerous. In Wisconsin, a 102-year-old who wears a sport coat to dinner cannot participate in treatment because of memory lapses and poor hearing.

    ¶The treatment regimens are expensive and largely unproven, and there is no way to compel patients to participate. Many simply do not show up for sessions on their lawyers’ advice — treatment often requires them to recount crimes, even those not known to law enforcement — and spend their time instead gardening, watching television or playing video games.

    ¶The cost of the programs is virtually unchecked and growing, with states spending nearly $450 million on them this year. The annual price of housing a committed sex offender averages more than $100,000, compared with about $26,000 a year for keeping someone in prison, because of the higher costs for programs, treatment and supervised freedoms.

    ¶Unlike prisons and other institutions, civil commitment centers receive little standard, independent oversight or monitoring; sex among offenders is sometimes rampant, and, in at least one facility, sex has been reported between offenders and staff members.
    theres more


    Abu Dhabi Sheikh Torture.

    I've seen a blog report on this with the no longer viable video dated April 2009. Why am I now hearing of this incident????!!!!!

    a tape that one of the sheikhs in the Abu Dhabi ruling family had made of him and some Abu Dhabi police officers torturing an Afghan grain dealer that he, the sheikh, believed had cheated him. Sheikh Issa is shown participating in the torture himself, and at the end, running over the victim repeatedly with his Mercedes. The sheikh reportedly had his torture session taped so he could watch it with pleasure later. The sadistic Sheikh Issa's brother is the ruler of Abu Dhabi, whose government claims they did an investigation and found no problems.
    he was freed.

    Not the raw video... this is news grade but still disgusting

    was this posted and I just missed it? April -09 to jan 2010
    Last edited by Taj; 01-14-2010 at 02:12 AM.
    “A sharp knife never proclaims it’s sharpness to the world…but the first to fall against it becomes it’s advocate.”

    You can put any face behind a mask but be careful cos someone else might be pretending. You might not be the only one with a secret -- Cassie/Gretel

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