Friday, November 28, 2014

China: Beijing store 'bans Chinese customers'

A clothes shop in Beijing has caused an outcry after putting up a sign banning Chinese customers, it's been reported.

The store is embroiled in a racism row after posting a sign which reads: "Chinese not admitted, except for staff", the official Beijing Youth Daily reports. By way of explanation, one of the shop's employees tells the paper some Chinese customers are "too annoying" and that "Chinese women often try lots of clothes but end up buying nothing." The shop was also forced to pay a foreign customer $5,000 (£3,170) after his wallet was stolen, and surveillance camera footage showed a Chinese customer was responsible, the employee says. But another member of staff suggests the ban is actually to prevent rivals from copying the shop's clothing designs.

The sign has caused uproar on Chinese social media sites, with one Weibo user asking: "Is this still China?" The disbelief was shared by others on the site. "Bullying on my own doorstep," says one person, who wonders why the owners would open a shop in China if they don't want Chinese customers. "This type of shop should be closed down," declares another Weibo user. But a legal expert tells the Beijing Youth Daily that while the sign is discriminatory, the shop's owner hasn't broken the law because China doesn't have a legal ban on racial discrimination. Source...

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8 year old Palestinian girl uses smartphone to report on Israeli occupation...

Armed with only a mobile phone, Jana Tamimi – possibly the world’s youngest civilian journalist – has been filming Israeli occupation forces in her West Bank village. The Palestinian girl says she wants to deliver a message to the world with her videos.

Tamimi’s home village, Nabi Saleh, is a tiny Palestinian enclave with a population of 600, located some 70 miles north of Hebron. Residents of Nabi Saleh say that settlers have seized 60 percent of the village's territory, including a local spring, the Daily Mail reported.

Tamimi documents the weekly demonstrations against Israeli settlements held by local residents and international activists. The protests are often joined by local children who take Israeli soldiers to task for their part in the occupation.

The young girl says she wants to deliver her people’s message to the world and hopes that her reports will help gain international support for the struggle of the Palestinian people.

 'When we started to go out for marches there weren't a lot of photographers with us so I had an idea to document and deliver our message. The message of all Palestinians and Palestinian children to the world so they come to support us and to free Palestine and live under freedom and get our rights,” Tamimi told Reuters. Full story...

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Italy suspends Novartis vaccine after three persons die...

Italy suspended the use of a flu vaccine made by Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis on Thursday amid fears it may have caused three deaths.

The Italian Pharmaceutical Agency (AIFA) banned the use of two batches of the Fluad vaccine after three people who had received it died and a fourth was taken seriously ill.

The victims were two women aged 87 and 79 and a 68-year old man, all of whom died between November 12th and 19th in southern Italy, according to Italian media reports.

The fourth person, a 92-year old man, is in hospital in serious condition.

 "Novartis has been notified by AIFA of the precautionary suspension of two lots of Fluad in Italy following reports of the serious adverse effects events after vaccination," the Basel-based company said. Full story...

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Veena Malik and the modern witch-hunt of Pakistani blasphemy laws...

It’s hard to read about the blasphemy convictions handed down to Pakistani actress Veena Malik and her husband Asad Bashir, media owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, and television presenter host Shaista Wahidi without a sense of frustration and confusion over the arbitrary application of the country’s blasphemy laws.

Malik and Bashir took part in a restaging of their wedding on a programme on Geo TV, owned by Shakil-ur-Rahman. Playing in the background was a song about the marriage of one of Mohammad’s daughters. That, apparently, was enough to trigger a prosecution.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are notoriously easy to invoke, and as such are often used as part of broader agendas and vendettas against individuals. Even mentioning Mohammed can become dangerous, as politician Sherry Rehman found when she invoked his memory to suggest that he would not approve of the death sentence for blasphemy.

 Rahman’s friend Salmaan Taseer was killed by his own security guard for his campaign to reform the blasphemy law – suggesting that the country was now in a situation where even to speak out against the blasphemy law constitutes blasphemy in itself. Full story...

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Today would have been Jimi Hendrix's 72nd birthday...

Faced with acute poverty, Indian girl puts herself up for sale on Facebook...

Faced with acute poverty, a woman from Vadodara has decided to 'put herself on sale'. In a Facebook post, Chandni Rajgaur posted her picture and announced 'Chandni bikau hai' (Chandni is on sale).

The Vadodara girl said that she decided to sell herself to earn a living for her family that includes a paralysed mother and an injured father.

Firstpost, however, cannot vouch for the authenticity of the post.

Chandni told Zee Media that she has no money left for the treatment of her parents. "My mother has been ailing from paralysis for long, and even my father, who provided for the family, recently met with an accident and has been bedridden."

The girl told Dainik Bhaskar that it is a shameful act, but she was bound to take this step as she faces a financial crisis and is the only bread earner of the family. Full story...

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India launches new visa rules to boost tourism...

Tourists from the US, Australia, Brazil, Germany and Japan are now able to get visas on arrival in India after its limited scheme was extended.

Visitors from 43 countries no longer have to queue up at local consulates, but can instead apply for their visas online and collect them at airports.

The country received 6.58 million tourists in 2012, far fewer than Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia.

Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said the change would be boost to the industry.

The scheme was "a dream come true for the entire tourism industry of India and is bound to positively impact the economy," he said in a statement. Full story...

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Social media told to simplify terms and conditions...

ocial networking firms including Facebook and Twitter are being told to make it clearer to members how they collect and use their data.

A report by the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee says the firms' terms and conditions are far too long and complex.

The MPs say users may not be aware of how their details can be used by websites and apps.

Any reasonable person would struggle with long privacy policies, they add.

The committee says reading such documents has been likened to "engaging with Shakespeare".

And it says that the rules have been designed for use in US courtrooms and to protect organisations in the event of legal action rather than to convey information. Full story...

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Millionaire Chinese businessman bulldozes run down huts in village where he grew up and builds luxury flats for residents instead... for free!

A millionaire Chinese businessman has bulldozed the wooden huts and muddy roads where he grew up - and built luxury homes for the people who lived there.

Xiong Shuihua was born in Xiongkeng village in the city of Xinyu, southern China and said that his family had always been well looked after and supported by residents in his childhood.

So when the 54-year-old ended up making millions in the steel industry he decided to repay the favour - for free.

The business tycoon decided to return to the village and give everybody a place of their own to live.

Five years ago, the area was run down and many lived in basic homes.

But the area has been transformed in recent years and now 72 families are enjoying life in luxury new flats. Full story...

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Dutch move 122 tons of gold out of US...

The Dutch Central Bank says it has recently shipped 122.5 tons of gold worth around 4 billion euros ($5 billion) from safekeeping in New York back to its headquarters in Amsterdam.

In a statement Friday morning the bank said that its 612.5-ton national gold reserve is now divided 31 percent in Amsterdam, 31 percent in New York, 20 percent in Ottawa, Canada and 18 percent in London.

"With this adjustment the Dutch Central Bank joins other banks that are keeping a larger share of their gold supply in their own country," the bank said in a statement. "In addition to a more balanced division of the gold reserves...this may also contribute to a positive confidence effect with the public." Source

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet...

A network of hidden cameras a world-renowned doctor used to spy on patients, friends and colleagues has been revealed after he was jailed for eight years.

Hearing specialist Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh captured footage on a range of devices, including cameras fitted to toilets and even hidden inside pens and watches, to secretly record victims across the country.

The 62-year-old, from Malaysia, admitted fixing the tiny devices to toilets in St Anthony’s Hospital in North Cheam, south London, as well as medical premises and train toilets across the UK, for his sexual gratification.

He was caught when a camera he fixed at privately-run St Anthony's fell from its hiding place and was discovered. Full story...

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Love for sale in India...

India’s parliamentarians again are debating whether prostitution should be legalized or decriminalized. It is an argument that a 36-year-old sex worker in a brothel in New Delhi’s infamous GB Road is watching closely. She gives her name only as “Lata.”

The story of how Lata got to GB Road, Asia's largest and the world's second largest red-light district, housing an estimated 12,000 of India’s 3 million-odd sex workers, is a sad one lived by far too many of India’s girls and women and depressingly will inevitably be lived by more as more women enter the work force and a steadily growing economy gives men the money to visit sex workers.

Lata was born in the Etawah village of Uttar Pradesh, she says, ironically to school teacher parents.

She had no idea her life would take her, at the age of 16, to 20 years of prostitution. She had three siblings, she said, all of whom studied at a local government school where her father once taught.

But when she was in her 10th year of schooling, the wife of a rich farmer neighbour died in childbirth. He was Lata’s father’s friend. He offered the equivalent of U$4,000 for the 16 year old girl. Her father, an alcoholic, quickly accepted the offer. Full story...

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Malaysia leader nixes pledge to scrap sedition law...

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says a colonial-era law curbing free speech will be retained and strengthened, backpedaling on a pledge two years ago to abolish the law as part of political reforms.

Rights groups and opposition lawmakers slammed the move, with Human Rights Watch calling it a "major reversal of human rights."

Najib says the Sedition Act will be bolstered to defend Islam and other religions, and to act against those calling for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneo island.

He said Thursday that enforcement will be fair to create a more peaceful, stable and harmonious country.

At least 14 people, including opposition lawmakers, academics and a journalist, have been charged under the law since last year, mostly for criticizing the government or ruling officials. Source...

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Appeasing Gulf Arab sponsors, soccer giants Real Madrid remove cross from club logo...

The spillover of religious intolerance from the Middle East into Europe was dramatically revealed today, as Spanish soccer giant Real Madrid unveiled an adjusted logo for inclusion on a brand new credit card issued by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The logo is exactly the same as the one the club has been using since 1931, minus one important detail – in order not to disturb Muslim sensibilities, the Christian cross which normally sits at the top has been removed.

The logo change, readily acceded to by the management of Real Madrid – the world’s wealthiest sports team, valued at nearly $3.5 billion – forms part of a three year “strategic alliance with one of the most prestigious institutions in the world,” as club President Florentino Pérez described the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The importance the club attaches to the deal was demonstrated at a signing ceremony in September attended by some of the club’s top players, including Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Dani Carvajal.

At the September ceremony, Perez gushed, “I know that the local people experience every match in a special way and that our links with the UAE are constantly growing stronger. This agreement will help the club to keep conquering the hearts of followers in the United Arab Emirates.” Commenting on today’s appearance of the club logo without the cross, the leading Spanish soccer website Marca commented, “from the looks of things, the club is willing to compromise on aspects of its identity in pursuit of these new fans.” Full story...

Afghan mum kills 25 Taliban fighters after seeing son die...

An Afghan mother has reportedly killed 25 Taliban fighters after seeing her son die in a fierce gun battle.

Reza Gul, who lives in the Balabolok district in western Afghanistan, said she rushed to a small police outpost near her home after being awoken by gunfire early on November 17.

She told NBC News she screamed in anger and grief when she saw her son Safiullah — who had been guarding the outpost along with a group of lightly armed policemen — shot dead.

Then, she said, she took action.

Flanked by her husband, youngest son, daughter and daughter-in-law, the grieving mother grabbed a gun and attacked the militants. Full story...

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Authorities arrest laborers striking over low pay in Qatar...

More than 100 migrant workers who went on strike in Qatar this week over low pay have been arrested and are being processed for deportation, according to their co-workers.

The men, who hail from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, are construction workers employed by two subcontracting companies – Qatar Freelance Trading and Contracting as well as Qatar Middle East Co. They worked on construction sites that included the recently renovated Sheraton Doha hotel.

Speaking to Doha News at their labor accommodations in the Industrial Area yesterday, some of the co-workers of those who were arrested said they also expected to be forced out of the country in the coming days.

They said police officers showed up in SUVs, accompanied by a company bus, to their camp around midday Monday after several hundred laborers refused to work for a third straight day.

Some of the workers have already packed their bags in anticipation of being deported.

The men said that when they resisted, a camp boss struck several workers with a piece of plastic pipe and started a scuffle. Full story...

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Three priests and a religious education teacher are arrested in Spain after former altar boy writes to Pope claiming he was molested by paedophile ring...

Three priests and a religious education teacher have been arrested over the alleged abuse of altar boys by a Catholic paedophile ring in Spain.

The investigation was launched after one alleged victim wrote to Pope Francis claiming he was molested by a priest around ten years ago.

Francis said he felt 'great pain' after learning of the allegations but insisted that 'the truth is the truth and we should not hide it.'

He said he personally called the man, now 24, to offer his support and wrote to the Archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martinez, urging him to launch an investigation.

The group allegedly drew boys into their sphere of influence by taking them on as altar boys or assistants before molesting them.

A Granada judge is reportedly targeting 10 priests and two lay people, although only four have been arrested so far. Full story...

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India plans to raise smoking age to 25...

Health campaigners have welcomed India's plans to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 25 and ban unpackaged cigarettes.

The plans have been welcomed as a major step towards stopping nearly one million tobacco-related deaths a year.

Health Minister JP Nadda told parliament that he was drawing up legislation to raise the minimum legal age for buying tobacco products, currently 18, and to force vendors only to sell full packets of cigarettes.

The plans, proposed by an expert panel, will need final approval by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet and parliament to become law.

"This is a very welcome move by the government," Binoy Mathew, spokesman for the non-profit Voluntary Health Association of India, told AFP.

"It's going to act as a huge deterrent especially for students and youngsters." Full story...

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Disgraced anti-Israel professor cheered in Washington...

Former University of Illinois professor Steven Salaita received a standing ovation from Middle East scholars and academics from around the world on Saturday afternoon.

Salaita, who was terminated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty in September for a series of viciously anti-Israel tweets during the Gaza War, seemed overwhelmed by the hero’s welcome.

“Thank you, every body. If the Zionists wanted to silence me, they should have just approached people to be nice to me,” Salaita said. “Kindness always leaves me much more speechless than war crimes do.”

Salaita said his firing—which he attributed to “the interference of wealthy donors”—was “part of the culture wars that have long been ongoing around the Israel-Palestine conflict” and could not be separated from “the organized suppression of those who speak in support of Palestine or Palestinians.” Full story...

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Here comes France: Right-wing leader Marine Le Pen demands central bank repatriate French gold...

(...)

Open letter to Mr Christian Noyer on the gold reserves of France

Dear Governor

On behalf of the French and in my capacity as the main opposition leader, I am writing to you because it is my duty to present a petition on the gold reserves of France, under the best interests of our nation.

Even before the outbreak of the 2008 crisis, the National Front had anticipated and informed the political institutions of the future worsening of the macro-economic and geopolitical context. As part of the business model increasingly libertarian adopted by France under pressure from Brussels, no economic fundamentals may not sustained improvement. All French can see that the austerity policies demanded by the EU and the ECB and implemented by the government are a proven failure and serious for our country.

The monetary institution you lead a historic mission to be the custodian of national central bank monetary reserves including gold reserves. According to our strategic vision and sovereign, they are neither the state nor the Bank of France but the French people and in addition serve as the ultimate guarantee of public debt and our currency.

In monetary Cold War played between the Western countries and the BRICS countries, gold gradually takes an important role. According to the World Gold Council, China's official gold reserves, India and Russia have increased significantly between 2007 and 2013.
For these reasons and because of the rapid growth of global systemic risk, it is of utmost importance to the future solvency of our nation to engage, by mid-2015, a detailed audit procedure, the results will be the subject of a report. This report must obtain validation of French macro-prudential authorities, ACPR, and will be made public in the year. Full story...

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India’s urban youth are angry. Unlike their parents, they have little to lose...

I met a pair of 20-year-old insurrectionaries last week. They were gently spoken and as slight as kittens, yet only recently the vice-chancellor at their elite university claimed they and their friends had threatened his life.

The story of how Dibyokamal Mitra, Nabottama Pal and a bunch of undergraduates drove one of the grandest institutions in Kolkata into meltdown needs to be heard far outside India. It’s an extraordinary blend of traditional protest rituals and social media, alleged police beatings and a march that brought an entire city to a standstill. But it also highlights one of our most important, yet under-remarked, geopolitical truths: in its megacities and towns, across campuses and workplaces, urban India is breeding a generation of angry young men and women.

In a report last year, the UN dropped its usual diplomat-ese to warn: “In every sphere – education, work and play – there is a mix of disenchantment, resentment and hope. With growth has not come equity. The cost of urbanisation is beginning to tell in a way that if left unattended could plunge society into fragments.”

Numbers alone make that globally significant: there are 433 million people aged between 15 and 34 living in Indian towns and cities. Imagine an army bigger than the combined populations of the US, the UK and Canada. Full story...

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Ferguson shows how the police can kill and get away with it...

Several hundred people gathered in Union​ Square last night waiting to hear whether Darren Wilson would be indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Most already suspected what the results would be. They were right. They were also angry.

Protesters marched through holiday kiosks, shouting, "NYPD! KKK! How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?" Young people threw their hands up in solidarity with those who had been murdered by the police. One man held a sign reading, "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." A James Baldwin quote never seemed more appropriate, even if it also seemed like a distant wish at that moment.

You already know, of course, that Darren Wilson got off. We always knew he would.

 In America, the justice system is anything but just. Courts are conduits for the caging of (mostly black or brown) humans. The police feed people into the courts, and if they sometimes kill those they are arresting it's regarded as a cost barely worth mentioning. And though they kill a lot of people—in Utah, police shootings are the second most common type of h​omicide—they are rarely punished. From the fellow officers who write reports and testify on the behalf of killers to the prosecutors who seem determined to let murderers get away, the very system that claims to monitor the police protects them. Police kill. They get away with it. They kill again. Eventually, you realise that this process is not a bug in the system but a feature. Full story...

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Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy makes last appeal...

A Pakistani Christian woman who was sentenced to death for blasphemy has filed an appeal in Pakistan's supreme court in a final bid to avoid execution.

Asia Bibi, a 50-year-old mother-of-five has been on death row since 2010 after being convicted of insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad during an argument over a glass of well water. She denied the charges.

Her case has become an international cause celebre among rights groups and has even been offered asylum in France by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, in the hope she can escape the death penalty.

 An open letter from Mrs Bibi's husband, which includes an impassioned note of thanks from her windowless cell, is currently in circulation on the internet to draw attention to her case. Full story...

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Actress Veena Malik, Pakistani channel Geo TV owner sentenced to 26 years in prison for airing 'blasphemous programme'

The owner of Pakistan's biggest media group, Geo TV along with actor Veena Malik and her husband was sentenced to 26 years in prison by an anti-terrorism court for allegedly airing a blasphemous programme.

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, owner of Geo and Jang group, was accused of allowing the airing of a blasphemous programme by Geo television in May, which played a religious song while staging a mock marriage of Malik with Bashir.

Judge Shahbaz Khan also sentenced both Malik and Bashir along with TV host Shaista Wahidi for 26 years each.

The ATC also imposed a 1.3 million Pakistani rupees fine on the convicts and ordered that their properties should be sold to raise the fine, if they failed to pay it. The judge said in his judgment that all four accused committed profanity.

The court in its 40-page verdict also asked the police to arrest the convicts, an official said. Full story...

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Tanzania’s Masai ‘breathe sigh of relief’ after president vows never to evict them...

The president of Tanzania has pledged never to evict the Masai people after an international outcry against plans to turn their ancestral land into a commercial hunting ground for Arab royalty.

Last week the Guardian revealed claims by Masai activists that the government had reintroduced plans to forcibly relocate 40,000 pastoralists to make way for a luxury hunting and safari company based in the United Arab Emirates.

But, as an online campaign gathered steam, President Jakaya Kikwete tweeted: “There has never been, nor will there ever be, any plan by the government of Tanzania to evict the Masai people from their ancestral land.”

The promise was hailed by the Avaaz global activist group after a two-year fight during which 2.3 million people signed a petition against the proposal. In the past week, according to Avaaz, 18,000 people have written to Tanzanian embassies to raise their concerns. Full story...

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German league chief tells Sepp Blatter to resign over Qatar World Cup...

The head of the German football league, Reinhard Rauball, has told Sepp Blatter he should resign as the Fifa president over the controversy surrounding the Qatar World Cup bid.

“In contrast to others who just do it via the media, I rang up Mr Blatter personally recently and asked him to resign,” Rauball told the magazine Kicker. “I can’t be accused of holding myself back on this issue.

“But the decision by the Fifa executive committee in favour of Qatar is not made by Mr Blatter alone – 22 people are entitled to vote.”

Rauball suggested the German football association (DFB) president, Wolfgang Niersbach, could replace Blatter as the president of the world governing body. Rauball said Niersbach could provide “solutions” inside the Fifa executive committee.

“The league representatives to the DFB committee would all vote for Niersbach as a candidate,” Rauball, the president of Borussia Dortmund, said. “I am sure there will be no other opinion in the DFB committee either.” Full story...

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Sony set to end sponsorship contract with Fifa, becoming second major sponsor to cut ties...

Sony does not plan to renew its sponsorship contract with Fifa, which deals another blow to world football's governing body.

Their announcement follows Emirates Airline decision to severe ties with Fifa as it investigates whether there was corruption in the bidding process for the next two World Cup competitions.

Coca-Cola, another major Fifa partner, said it was disappointed with Fifa's handling of an investigative report into the bidding process for the forthcoming World Cups in Qatar and Russia at the weekend.

Sony has been a Fifa sponsor for the eight years to 2014 in a contract worth £222m.

 Sony has said it is aiming to restructure its television and mobile divisions further, while targeting robust growth for its electronics devices division, which houses its growing image sensors business. Full story...

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Monday, November 24, 2014

India tea workers kill owner in West Bengal pay dispute...

Workers at a tea plantation in eastern India have killed the owner during negotiations over a pay dispute.

The owner of the Sonali tea estate in West Bengal was dragged out of talks on Saturday. He died after being beaten up and stabbed by a crowd.

Police say Rajesh Agarwal had gone to pacify the workers who had reportedly not been paid for two or three months. Two men and five women have been held.

Many workers in India's tea plantations are malnourished and poorly paid.

Several incidents of attacks on tea executives by workers have been reported in recent years.

In 2012 a tea plantation owner and his wife were burned to death in the neighbouring state of Assam. Source...

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Regin: A leading computer security company says it has discovered one of the most sophisticated pieces of malicious software ever seen...

A leading computer security company says it has discovered one of the most sophisticated pieces of malicious software ever seen.

Symantec says the bug, named Regin, was probably created by a government and has been used for six years against a range of targets around the world.

Once installed on a computer, it can do things like capture screenshots, steal passwords or recover deleted files.

Experts say computers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Ireland have been hit most.

It has been used to spy on government organisations, businesses and private individuals, they say.

Researchers say the sophistication of the software indicates that it is a cyber-espionage tool developed by a nation state. Full story...

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Making child's play out of banking in India...

A pioneering Indian bank is teaching the impoverished children of an overcrowded Muslim neighbourhood in Ahmedabad how to save for a crisis.

Sarjan Bank bank at Sankalit Nagar in the neglected western neighbourhood of Juhapura is proving highly popular with local pre-teens - who are also helping to run it.

Operated by a non-profit organisation, the bank has provided families that have fallen on hard times or been victims of the city’s periodic bouts of inter-communal violence a lifeline - literally.

"The other day, my teacher told me that I could use the money in my account in case my mother needs medicines when she is ill," says little Zia Mirza, whose father is a rickshaw driver.

"And a month later, it happened! My mother fell ill and wanted medicines and my father didn’t have any cash. So, I came here and withdrew Rs 200 ($3.25)," says the nine-year-old with an accomplished smile. Full story...

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Hundreds protest U.S. support for Mexican drug cartels...

Retired Scotland Yard detectives back up claims that paedo MPs murdered boys at sex orgies...

Paedophile politicians at Westminster murdered young boys at sex orgies, say two former Scotland Yard detectives, writes Mark Conrad and Keir Mudie in the Sunday People.

The retired officers who first investigated the allegations more than 30 years ago have provided explosive testimony to the Yard’s new probe.

The pair have made written statements to the Met Police about the VIP network which they claim was known as The Untouchables because they were too powerful to bring to justice.

It is believed the ex-cops – one of them Special Branch – told the current inquiry that they were ordered NOT to investigate the group.

Their dramatic new evidence appears to corroborate claims by a victim known as Nick that he witnessed a young boy being murdered by an MP. Full story...

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Rising suicide rate for Indian farmers blamed on GMO seeds...

Monsanto, which has just paid out $2.4 million to US farmers, settling one of many lawsuits it’s been involved in worldwide, is also facing accusations that its seeds are to blame for a spike in suicides by India farmers.

The accusations have not transformed into legal action so far, but criticism of Monsanto has been mounting, blaming the giant company for contributing to over 290,000 suicides by Indian farmers over the last 20 years.

The author of a documentary on Indian farmers’ suicides, Alakananda Nag, who has interviewed dozens of the relatives of those who have taken their lives, links the rise in the suicide rate to the use of GMO seeds. She believes small farms are particularly vulnerable.

“The large farms certainly have the funds to support themselves and get on, but the smaller ones are really ones that suffer the most,” Nag told RT. “Monsanto definitely has a very big hand to play. A few years ago it was illegal to grow GMO crops in India. It’s not like the suicide did not exist back then. It did, but I think there was definitely a sharp rise in the [suicide] numbers once [GMOs] were allowed.” More + videos...

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Saudi Arabia: assault on online expression...

Saudi authorities are ramping up their crackdown on people who peacefully criticize the government on the Internet. The government should end the crackdown and live up to its obligations to respect free speech.

In late October 2014, three prominent lawyers were convicted of criticizing the Justice Ministry and sentenced to prison terms of between five and eight years. Police also detained a liberal women’s rights activist in connection with tweets that allegedly criticized religious officials and promoted the right of Saudi women to drive.

“These prosecutions show just how sensitive the Saudi authorities have become to the ability of ordinary citizens to voice opinions online that the government considers controversial or taboo,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “Instead of pursuing their peaceful online critics, Saudi officials would be better employed in carrying out much-needed reforms.”

 Saudi prosecutors and judges are using vague provisions of a 2007 anti-cybercrime law to charge and try Saudi citizens for peaceful tweets and social media comments. Article 6 criminalizes “producing something that harms public order, religious values, public morals, the sanctity of private life, or authoring, sending, or storing it via an information network,” and imposes penalties of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to three million Saudi Riyals (US$800,000). Full story...

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‘Diabolical & absurd’: Outrage as Save the Children gives Tony Blair Global Legacy Award...

A decision by UK charity Save the Children to give Tony Blair its annual Global Legacy Award has unleashed a torrent of criticism highlighting the former PM’s role in Britain’s 2003 Iraq war and his controversial business dealings in the Middle East.

The former Labour leader, who is currently a key focus of a public inquiry into Britain’s invasion of Iraq, received the honor on Wednesday night at a star-studded gala hosted by the charity in New York.

Save the Children’s decision to offer Blair the award has provoked outrage across the UK, with critics insisting the move utterly discredits the charity.

(...)

Blair was honored with Save The Children's 'Global Legacy Award' in supposed recognition of his vanguard leadership on the world’s international development stage.

 While serving Britain as prime minister, he formally committed the country to allocating 0.7 percent of its GDP to overseas aid. His administration also founded the Department for International Development (DFID). Full story...

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100,000 minority Rohingya Muslims flee persecution in Myanmar...

More than 100,000 minority muslims have fled from religious violence and persecution in Myanmar, charities have said.

In recent weeks violence against Rohingya muslims in western Myanmar has led to a mass exodus, as at least 8,000 people fled to neighbouring Thailand, as well as Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

Rohingya muslims escaped by boat, desperate to escape communal violence that broke out two years and has driven more than 100,000 muslims to flee across the borders to neighbouring countries.

Chris Lewa, director of the nonprofit Rohingya advocacy group Arakan Project, told the Associated Press that an average of 900 people per day are been piling into cargo ships moored off Rakhine state since the 15 October.

Lewa said that some Rohingya families have been told the huge cargo ships already have started arriving in Thailand. But Rohingya people who fled to Thailand still faced deportation and often fell victim to human traffickers. Full story...

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Media ‘gagged over bid to report MP child sex cases’

The security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed.

Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. One executive said he had been accosted in his office by 15 uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle.

The other said that his newspaper had received a D-notice when a reporter sought to write about a police investigation into Elm Guest House, in southwest London, where a group of high-profile paedophiles was said to have operated and may have killed a child. Now it has emerged that these claims are impossible to verify or discount because the D-notice archives for that period “are not complete”.

Officials running the D-notice system, which works closely with MI5 and MI6 and the Ministry of Defence, said that files “going back beyond 20 years are not complete because files are reviewed and correspondence of a routine nature with no historical significance destroyed”. Full story...

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The world's parallel parking champion!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

SWAT Team attacks homeschoolers with Tasers, pepper spray in warrantless raid...

A report published last night on World Net Daily outlines the shocking details of a warrantless raid on a Missouri homeschooling family by a SWAT Team that forced its way into the family's home, Tasered the father, pepper-sprayed the mother and put their children in the custody of social service workers.

Jason and Laura Hagan, of New Hampton. have filed a lawsuit against Capt. David Glidden of Nodaway County, Missouri as a result of the raid. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, as well as attorneys costs and fees, and was brought on behalf of the couple by the Home School Legal Defense Association. A court has already ruled the raid was a violation of the family's constitutional rights.

According to the report, attorney James Mason, senior counsel for HSLDA, told World Net Daily the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure were added to the Constitution for a reason.

"We need to be vigilant," Mason said. "We need to be willing to stand up for our rights."

He said authorities sometimes need to be reminded that "rules apply to them, too." Full story...

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