Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SISTAR 'Shake It' mirrored dance practice...

Peer claims £300 a day in expenses to walk 200 yards to work at House of Lords...

Baroness Wilcox lives in a £4.5million home 200 yards from the House of Lords, but bills taxpayer up to £5,700 a month for walk to work

A House of Lords peer has been criticised for claiming up to £5,700 a month for walking to work from her £4.5million home just 200 yards away.

Baroness Wilcox, a former Tory minister, has been accused of exploiting a new tax-free payment of up to £300 a day which those who live in London benefit from the most.

The 74-year-old former Cadbury Schweppes director, who has taken home £74,400 in parliamentary attendance allowances, has not broken any rules.

A number of other peers are also thought to be claiming the allowance despite living in and around Westminster.

 Labour MP John Mann said: "It is a scandal as big as the MPs’ expenses scandal. Full story...

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Heartbreaking images reveal the human face of hunger in Yemen: SIX MILLION people are on the brink of starvation as war ravages the desperate country...

These heartbreaking pictures reveal the true face of a civil war that has put six million people on the brink of starvation in Yemen.

Thousands have been killed in the battles between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to an exiled president Abd-Rabby Mansour Hadi, who fled the troubled country in February 2012.

But Oxfam today warned of the pressure blockades on imports are putting on the population, forcing an additional 25,000 people into hunger every day.

Half of the country's 26million population are now struggling to eat, according to Oxfam, as the war in the country rages on.

Oxfam's Yemen country director Philippe Clerc said: 'As the warring parties continue to ignore calls for a ceasefire, the average family in Yemen is left wondering when their next meal will be.'

Nearly 4,000 people have been killed and more than 1.2 million displaced in the conflict so far.

The United Nations say that four fifths of the population need help.

As well as the six million starving people, Oxfam believes 12.9million are hungry. More + photos...

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Windows 10 launch is a 'new era', says Microsoft boss...

Windows 10 marks a "new era" for personal computing, Microsoft's chief executive has said.

The software, launched globally on Wednesday, is the company's attempt to reverse its fortunes in the mobile industry.

Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to most consumers.

However, companies will have to pay for their version, as will PC-makers to pre-install it. Analysts say the strategy is designed to speed adoption.

Speaking exclusively to BBC News, Satya Nadella said: "Windows 10 is a huge milestone for us as a company, and quite frankly the industry."

Microsoft is staggering the release over several weeks, so not everyone will be able to get the upgrade on the launch day. Full story...

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Shaolin Temple 'kung fu abbot' accused of embezzlement and sex with nuns...

China’s Shaolin Temple has defended its abbot after the Buddhist monk was accused of embezzling temple property and paying for sex.

The 1,500-year-old temple, regarded as the birthplace of kung fu, said in a statement that salacious accusations in an open letter posted online last week were “vicious, groundless libel”.

The temple, located in mountains in central Henan province, has asked police to investigate the source of the letter to stem the spread of “false rumours” that has “tarnished the image” of the temple.

The online letter is entitled “Who will supervise the case of Shi Yongxin, the ‘big tiger’” – a term applied to corrupt senior officials – and was purportedly written by a Shaolin disciple named Shi Zhengyi.

 In detailed allegations that date back to the 1990s the letter says that abbot Shi, 50, had sex with Buddhist nuns. It also alleges that he lured one "follower" to Shaolin with money to have sex with her, and then kept her on as a mistress. Full story...

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How Monsanto wrote and broke laws to enter India...

Citizens of the United States are being denied the right to know what they are feeding their families. Despite the fact that 90% of American citizens want GMO labelling on their food, big business is doing everything it can to prevent people from accessing their rights. Representative Pompeo’s bill, popularly known as the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know), has been written almost entirely by the biotech industry lobby. While American citizens are advocating for their rights to knowledge and healthy, affordable food, Monsanto’s legal team is busy on every legislative level trying to prevent this from happening.

Monsanto’s subversion of democratic legal processes is not new. In fact, it is their modus operandi, be it the subversion of LA’s decision to be GMO free by amending the California Seed Law—equating corporations with persons, and making seed libraries and exchange of seed beyond 3 miles illegal— or suing Maui County for passing a law banning GMOs.

Decades before there was a “debate” over GMOs and Monsanto’s PR and law firms became the busiest of bees, India was introduced to this corrupting, corporate giant that had no respect for the laws of the land. When this massive company did speak of laws, these laws had been framed, essentially, by their own lawyers.

Today, Indian cotton farmers are facing a genocide that has resulted in the death of at least 300,000 of their brothers and sisters between 1995 and 2013, averaging 14,462 per year (1995-2000) and 16,743 per year (2001-2011). This epidemic began in the cotton belt, in Maharashtra, where 53,818 farmers have taken their lives. Monsanto, on it’s own website, admits that pink bollworm “resistance [to Bt] is natural and expected” and that the resistance to Bt “posed a significant threat to the nearly 5 million farmers who were planting the product in India”. 84% of the farmer suicides have been attributed to Monsanto’s Bt Cotton, placing the corporation’s greed and lawlessness at the heart of India’s agrarian crisis.

There are three outright illegalities to Monsanto’s existence in India. Full story...

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Enter Pyongyang...

Australian Manus guards found naked with woman sent home amid drugs investigation...

Three Australian guards on Manus Island found naked with a woman who claims she was drugged and raped were sent home before local authorities could investigate, the ABC reports.

PNG police said the men and the local woman were found in a state of undress, drunk and sniffing an unidentified substance in mid-July.

But Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection has angered PNG police by allowing the detention centre guards to return to Australia before an investigation could be carried out.

"Three foreign officials with a lady were said to be having beers and sniffing some hard stuff when they got all excited, removed all their clothes and exposed their bodies," said Manus Island Provincial Police Commissioner Alex N'Drasal.

Commissioner N'Drasal said he had wanted to investigate the incident but the men were sent home soon after the incident allegedly took place. Full story...

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As Yemenis starve, Saudi Arabia is accused of war crimes in the country...

As a unilateral 5-day humanitarian pause declared by the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen appeared to crumble, the aid group Oxfam said Tuesday that half of Yemen's population — almost 13 million people — is struggling to obtain food, and that some 6.5 million people are "on the brink of starvation."

Oxfam said that since the start of conflict between the coalition and Houthi rebels in March, an average of 25,000 additional Yemenis went hungry every day. The worst hit area is Saada governorate, a Houthi stronghold which has been bombarded relentlessly by coalition jets. Fifty percent of the people in Saada face "critical" levels of hunger, the group reported.

Even prior to the outbreak of violence, Yemen was the poorest country in the Arab world, and imported the vast majority of its food, predominantly by sea. Last year, the UN's World Food Program estimated that 10.6 million Yemenis were already food insecure.

Since airstrikes began on March 26, the Saudi-led coalition has installed a de-facto blockade of the country, leading to sparse supplies of basic necessities such as fuel, cooking gas and food like wheat and rice. While the UN and partner organizations are running desperately low on funds in Yemen, Oxfam said even with proper financing, the obstruction of commercial routes by the coalition would prevent locals from accessing the food and fuel they need to survive. Full story...

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Putin ‘is the richest person in the world until he leaves power’

The man who used to be the “Kremlin’s banker” says that as long the Russian president Vladimir Putin remains in power, he’s the richest person in the world.

“Everything that belongs to the territory of the Russian Federation Putin considers to be his,” Sergei Pugachev told The Guardian’s Luke Harding. “Everything – Gazprom, Rosneft, private companies. Any attempt to calculate it won’t succeed.

“He’s the richest person in the world until he leaves power.”

Although Putin’s exact wealth is unclear, hedge fund manager Bill Browder previously estimated it at $200 billion during an interview with CCN’s Fareed Zakaria. Full story...

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Facing corruption scandal, Malaysian PM fires officials investigating him...

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, stung by allegations that he received some $700 million in government money, fired the attorney general who had been investigating him and a deputy who has been among his most prominent critics on Tuesday.

Najib is under increasing pressure over leaked confidential documents that allegedly show the money, from state investment fund 1MDB, went into his personal accounts.

Najib announced over national television Tuesday that his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin will be replaced by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a Cabinet member who will also retain his home minister portfolio. Earlier Tuesday, the government announced it had terminated the services of Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail.

Najib said he also dropped four other ministers to strengthen his administration and ensure they can “work as a team.”

“I can accept differences in opinion and criticisms as part of the decision-making process, but these differences in opinion should not be made in an open forum that can affect public perception of the government and the country,” he said. Full story...

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Google bids adieu to its social network Google+...

Google is bidding adieu to Google Plus, a social network that the American search engine had launched four years ago hoping it would become a serious rival to Facebook.

Google has spent the last several months chopping up Google Plus's most useful pieces and making them separate services as it moves away from making Google Plus the central hub for all Google-related activity.

Yesterday, the company announced its most drastic step for breaking up Google Plus.

Google has announced more sweeping changes for Google Plus over the next few months as it restructures network into two distinctly separate products: streams and photos.

Previously, many tasks within Google products (such as, say, commenting on a YouTube video) required a Google Plus profile, but that won't be the case moving forward.

 "People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier," Bradley Horowitz, Google's vice president of photos and sharing, wrote in a company blog. Full story...

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Inside a dog retirement home...

70,000 whites murdered in ‘modern’ South Africa; Obama’s African legacy ...

Since Nelson Mandela and the communist African National Congress (ANC) took over South Africa, more than 70,000 whites have been murdered and untold numbers have been robbed, raped and tortured.

But you will not hear about this in the Western media, which fawns over the black terrorists who now run the once-prosperous country.

Claudia Bryan is a South African activist living in London. Her grandmother owned a bakery in South Africa. One day six blacks entered the bakery and gang-raped her. They then tried to shoot her. The gun jammed. In anger they gang raped her again and the 70-something woman died. Robbery was not the motive.

One of the South African Family Relief Project volunteers, who drove this writer around Durban during a recent fact-finding visit to South Africa, related the experience of a co-worker. This man and his adult son were working on their boat at their home in an upscale area when two blacks came up the driveway and demanded the keys to the son’s car. When the father refused, the blacks shot him dead and fled.

Joulene Trichardt, my Johannesburg guide’s daughter-in-law, was one of the managers at a nightclub called Truth several years ago. The night club was open once a week for parties and dances. One night, four armed blacks burst in, firing handguns, and attacked the staff. They herded the managers and the disc jockey into an office. They beat one manager with a pistol and kicked Ms. Trichardt repeatedly when she disobeyed their orders to keep her eyes down and not to look. The bandits made off with the night’s proceeds—400,000 rand (roughly $40,000)—as well as the staff’s cellphones. They were never caught. Full story...

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Porn websites visited 250,000 times on parliament computers...

Over 247,000 attempts were made to visit X-rated websites from the UK Parliament’s computer network last year, with the numbers spiking during parliamentary recess in April, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed.

Attempts to access more than 42,000 sites classed as pornographic were made during April alone last year, totaling more than 1,300 each day.

The Freedom of Information request by the Daily Express found the second most active month was October 2014, where there were more than 30,000 attempts to access porn sites.

The figures don’t show which sites were accessed or how long was spent on the pages.

The findings add to the previous total of 350,000 in 2013.

Taxpayers’ Alliance Chief Executive Jonathan Isaby said of the figures: “Some of these ‘visits’ are no doubt the product of pop-ups beyond anybody’s control, but the number is absolutely staggering. Full story...

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Three more police forces in England signal that they will turn blind eye to cannabis use...

Three more police forces have signalled that those who grow cannabis for their own consumption will not be targeted, it has emerged.

Those caught smoking or cultivating the drug on a small scale in Derbyshire, Dorset and Surrey, can expect to escape with little more than a caution, according to reports.

The development comes after Durham Constabulary declared it would only go after people using the drug if there was a complaint or if they were being “blatant”.

The change in attitudes will be seen as a further step towards decriminalisation and follows claims by drug experts that police forces across Britain are quietly turning a blind eye to cannabis use in order to focus their attentions on more pressing priorities.

 While the Government has insisted it has no intention of relaxing the laws on Class B narcotic, police chiefs have increasingly been taking a more lenient approach, with users more likely to receive a warning than face prosecution. Full story...

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Humanitarian occupation of Haiti: 100 years and counting...

This Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the U.S. Occupation of Haiti. On July 28, 1915, U.S. Marines landed on the shores of Haiti, occupying the country for 19 years. Several college campuses, professional associations, social movements, and political parties are marking the occasion with a series of reflections and demonstrations. Several have argued that the U.S. has never stopped occupying Haiti, even as military boots left in 1934. Some activists are using the word “humanitarian occupation” to describe the current situation, denouncing the loss of sovereignty, as U.N. troops have been patrolling the country for over 11 years. The phrase “humanitarian occupation” may seem distasteful and even ungrateful to some considering the generosity of the response to the January 12, 2010 earthquake, however there are several parallels between the contemporary aid regime and the U.S. Marine administration. First and foremost, foreign troops are on the ground, controlling the country; the military regimes operated with complete immunity and impunity. Second, a new constitution was installed, centralizing power in the executive. Third, both occupations involved Haiti’s gold resources.

The U.S. Marines invaded Haiti ostensibly to restore order, disrupted by the kako, an armed peasant resistance. From 1910 to the 1915 invasion of the U.S. Marines, Haiti had 7 presidents, marked with violent clashes between two factions of Haiti’s ruling elites. The exploits of the occupying forces were well documented, including by soldiers themselves. Faustin Wirkus declared himself to be the “White King of La Gonave.” Many troops were from Jim Crow South, and they took their racism and white supremacy with them. This racism colored how they saw elements of Haitian culture and folklore, and in turn how the rest of the world was to see Haiti. “Voodoo” and “zombies” were popularized by Hollywood, as the film industry was just taking off, announced by explicitly white supremacist Birth of a Nation. Haiti continued to play “boogieman,” scaring foreigners through exotification. Full story...

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Children as young as 11 are sending naked selfies as part of "sexually toxic environment"

A top police officer has warned a 'toxic environment' is seeing children as young as 11 sending naked selfies over social media.

Chief Inspector Graham Goulden, of Police Scotland's national Violence Reduction Unit, said schools across the country are having to deal cases involving sexting or sharing intimate images on a weekly basis.

Ch Insp Goulden advised parents to be more vigilant over their children's use of social media and not to blame kids who make mistakes - after Police Scotland said it was dealing of cases of pre-teens being targeted online.

 He told the Scottish Daily Record: “We need to look at sexting as a form of abuse. I often talk about a sexually toxic environment that we are living in just now. Full story...

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This is what a Filipino birthday lunch looks like!!!

Woman kills attacker with his gun, unknowingly takes out a serial killer...

An unnamed woman in Charleston, West Virginia, has become an unexpected heroine to sex workers everywhere. This after having a real-life Dexter as a client.

Acccording to Charleston police and the woman's own interview with KPTV, she realized that something was wrong shortly after 45-year-old Springfield, Oregon, native Neal Falls arrived at her apartment after answering an escort ad she'd placed on Backpage.com.

"I knew he was there to kill me," the visibly shaken woman told KPTV after being released from the hospital, where she was treated for broken vertebrae and lacerations. "I could tell that he had already done something because he said that he was going to prison for a long time. And that's when I knew he was gonna kill me."

When Falls began to strangle her, she said, she reached for a nearby rake. Falls put down his gun to try and wrestle the rake out of her hands—that's when she grabbed the gun and shot him. Falls died from the gunshot wound, and she ran outside to get help. Full story...

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The turbulent life story of Bhutan's happiness guru...

On the banks of a river in the remote Bumthang valley in the foothills of the Himalayas, Bhutan's first happiness centre is under construction. Among the workers breaking stones is Saamdu Chetri, dressed in monks' robes, wielding a pickaxe.

At first the workers were puzzled at his hands-on involvement, he says. "Then they realised it's not just for them, I'm helping myself by being physically fit."

Chetri chose this remote location because of its spiritual history and its beauty. "It's one of the most beautiful valleys in the country," he says. "This is a place of happiness for me where I find so much relation with nature - the place itself is so serene."

For a man charged with bringing happiness to a nation, Chetri has suffered much in his life and comes from the most humble beginnings.

"I was born in a cowshed," he says. "I was so attached to animals, plants - anything to do with nature.

"My parents never thought about schooling. We had seven brothers and four sisters, they were all working and I thought I would also be one of the working persons." Full story...

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End of an era: Ex-president of India APJ Abdul Kalam passes away after cardiac arrest...

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, the 'missile man' who came to be known as 'People's President' died on Monday after he collapsed during a lecture at the IIM in Shillong on Monday evening.

Kalam, who would have turned 84 in October, was confirmed dead more than two hours after he was wheeled into the ICU of Bethany hospital in a critical condition following the collapse at around 6.30 pm.

According to reports, Kalam suffered a massive cardiac arrest during the lecture at IIM, Shillong.

Considered the most popular President, Kalam became the 11th head of the state and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007 but lack of consensus denied a second term in office for a man who came from outside political spectrum.

Meghalaya Governor V Shanmughanathan, who rushed to the hospital on hearing the news of his admission, said Kalam died at 7.45 pm. Despite medical team best efforts, he could not be revived. Full story...

Turkish technology firm boss distributes $27 million to employees after sale...

The sale of a company is usually bad news for its employees, but that wasn’t the case for Yemeksepeti.com, the leading Turkish firm in online food ordering, as more than 100 of its employees were given bonuses totaling $27 million following the company’s sale last May for $589 million, the firm’s CEO, Nevzat Aydın, has said.

“We have shared $27 million of the money we earned with our 114 employees,” Aydın told daily Hürriyet.
Delivery Hero, the German-based online food ordering giant, acquired Yemeksepeti for $589 million on May 5.

Yemeksepeti CEO Aydın remained in his post, as he also became part of the management team of Delivery Hero.

Aydın said they had set a “bad example” for other bosses by sharing the money with their employees.

“They will hate us, but this is the case,” he said. “Although we did not have any liabilities or promises, we shared $27 million of the money we got from the sale of the company with the employees, out of our own share and by also paying the taxes.” Full story...

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Inspirational Monica Singh: From acid attack victim to New York fashionista...

Were 'religious police' behind bikini beating in France?

On Sunday the French press reported the sickening tale of a 21-year-old woman who was beaten up by a gang of five women at the Parc Léo Lagrange in Reims, northern France.

The attack, carried out by women aged between 16 and 24, was apparently motivated by the woman's choice of attire -- a bikini, which she was wearing as she soaked up the summer sun.

As the gang approached the sunbather one of them is said to have yelled out "Go and get dressed, it's not summer", reported the L'Union newspaper.

When she refused, the argument escalated into violence and the woman was kicked and punched by a number of the gang.

She managed to escape more serious injuries after it was broken up by members of the public.

News of the young woman being assaulted by others would perhaps normally not have spread beyond those in the park but it was then suggested the attackers were Muslims and had been acting as some kind religious police.

 On Sunday, four days after the actual attack, social media in strictly secular France erupted with anger and anti-racism groups were calling on the public to protest. Full story...

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Australia Jehovah's Witnesses 'did not report 1,000 alleged abusers'

The Jehovah's Witnesses Church in Australia failed to report more than 1,000 alleged child sex abusers to the police, an inquiry has heard.

Instead, the commission says, the Church itself handled all the cases - some of which date to the 1950s.

One elder told the hearing that notes relating to abuse claims were destroyed so they would not be discovered.

Australia began a national inquiry into child sexual abuse in 2013, after claims of abuse in the Catholic Church.

Members of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, whose remit includes religious groups, NGOs and state-care providers, say more than 4,000 victims have come forward. Full story...

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Nepal police arrest 11 over human sacrifice...

Nepal police have arrested eleven villagers in connection with the murder of a 10-year-old child based on superstitious beliefs.

Local media reports said on Sunday that a suspected father of a sick teenager slit the throat of a boy named, Jeevan Kohar, in a village in Nawalparasi district.

The father believed that the horrific killing would cure his son's sickness.

Jeevan Kohar was lured into his death trap on Tuesday with a packet of biscuits and the promise of 50 rupees (50 US cents), media said.

"We have arrested 11 people, including four women, for murdering a ten-year-old boy," said Nal Prasad Upadhyaya, the Nawalparasi police superintendent. Full story...

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Three days before Dr. Bradstreet was found dead in a river, U.S. govt. agents raided his research facility to seize a breakthrough cancer treatment called GcMAF...

The history of the suppression of medical science in America is a long one, filled with true accounts of pioneering doctors and clinicians being threatened, intimidated and even assassinated in order to bury emerging cures and keep the "sick care" industry in control. (The American Medical Association, for example, has been found guilty by the U.S. federal courts of a conspiracy to destroy the chiropractic industry, by the way.)

Over the last few days, we've learned that before being found shot in the chest and floating in the river, pioneering medical researcher Dr. Bradstreet was working with a little-known molecule that occurs naturally in the human body. Called, "GcMAF," this molecule has the potential to be a universal cancer cure for many people. It has also been shown to reverse autism in the vast majority of patients receiving the treatment.

  1. While GcMAF is perfectly legal as a treatment in dozens of advanced nations around the world, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has outlawed it, calling it an "unapproved drug." It is with this designation -- an effort to suppress the forward progress of medical science -- that the U.S. government conducted a raid on Dr. Bradstreet's clinic, specifically seeking to confiscate GcMAF in order to shut down his research and halt his treatment of patients. Meanwhile, Big Pharma gets special permission to unleash untested, experimental drugs on the public as long as those drugs earn sufficient profits. Full story...

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Seven doctors have died under suspicious circumstances...

Over the past several weeks no less than seven established doctors have either been killed or died under unusual circumstances .

What do these physicians have in common and what remedies are they researching or advocating? Do any of their proposed treatments pose a threat to the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical cartel? If so, would government agencies and/or private contractors be commissioned to harass and perhaps even assassinate such individuals?

The answer may lie in an understanding of nagalese, a protein made by cancer cells and viruses. Nagalese is a primary cause of immunodeficiency given its ability to block the body’s production of GcMAF, otherwise known as “Vitamin D binding microphage activating factor,” a naturally-produced immune regulating compound that aids in fighting what are traditionally considered terminal diseases. Some researchers suggest that nagalese is one of many toxic components found in the immunizations commonly administered to children, including the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine.

Some independently-minded medical practitioners are beginning to acknowledge not only the nagalese-vaccination link, but also that GcMAF possesses great potential for the treatment of cancer and a variety of other illnesses, including autism, inflammation, and viral and bacterial disease. Full story...

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Child's last hope: One in thirty children in US homeless, number growing...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

India’s skin-whitening creams highlight a complex over darker complexions...

She is sitting in Coffee Day, a favourite spot for Mumbai high school students. “You OK, Nina?”, her friends ask as they arrive. They sit down laughing and order iced coffee and doughnuts. Next door, the Eros cinema is showing R... Rajkumar. Its stars, Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha, are good-looking, happy and in love. Both are fair-skinned.

Nina is darker, not really black. “One of my aunts keeps offering to apply whitening lotion,” she says.

“One day, I said to her: ‘But Auntie, you’ve been putting on that stuff for the past 20 years and I’ve never noticed any difference. What’s the point?’” Memories well up. “I’ve always known I was dark-skinned. At school the little girls with fair skin were chosen to represent our class. Once one of my teachers even said: ‘You’re a good pupil, but you’re so black’.

“In the playground it was one of the main sources of discrimination. Even now, when I walk into a chemist’s the staff try and sell me whitening lotion without me even asking.” She sips her coffee and smiles. “Most of my women friends who post photos of themselves on Facebook whiten their teeth too.” She picks up her phone and skims through them, looking suddenly rather glum. “There is an obsession with fair skin in this country,” she said. Paleness is a sign of distinction and “superiority”. Full story...

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61,000 Indian millionaires shifted overseas in last 14 years...

India has seen the second-biggest outflow of high net worth individuals in last 14 years, with as many as 61,000 millionaires shifting base to abroad due to reasons like tax, security and child education, says a report.

A joint report by New World Wealth and LIO Global said the change in domicile, along with a rise in second citizenship applications, has increased dramatically since the turn of the century.

Some 61,000 uber-rich Indians have changed domicile between 2000 to 2014 -- second only to China which saw an outflow of 91,000 ultra-rich persons in the same period, the report said.

"Indian HNWIs tend to move to the UAE, the UK, the US and Australia," the report said, adding that Chinese HNWIs mainly moved to the US, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. Full story...

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Australian senators give medical marijuana the green light...

Senators from across the political divide will endorse a bill to legalise medical marijuana despite warnings it could create a regulatory nightmare.

Fairfax Media can reveal that a committee made up of Coalition, Labor and crossbench senators will strongly recommend that Parliament pass a cross-party bill to set up a medical marijuana regulator.

Spearheaded by Greens Leader Richard Di Natale​, the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill would effectively make the federal government responsible for overseeing the production, distribution and use of the drug.

The bill was introduced into Parliament last November and sent to a committee in February. After conducting public hearings around the country and attracting almost 200 public submissions, the committee is due to deliver its report on August 10.

Sources say the committee will back the bill despite strong concerns from the Health Department. Full story...

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Celebrities and the art of distraction...

When you flip through your daily newspaper, or watch the nightly news, chances are you have noticed a steady increase in celebrity news, fashion, and gossip filling up the column inches, and crowding out the news.

This has been going on for centuries. In Latin it’s called panem et circenses. Translated, it means ‘bread and circuses’, a phrase made famous by the Roman poet Juvenal circa CE 100. In Roman terms, this phrase refers to the creation of public approval by the ruling class, not by any altruistic or progressive means, but through the use of wonderful distractions and entertainment.

It’s a tried and tested template for keeping the commoners’ point of focus off politics and the economy, and onto the distraction de jour.

Mainstream media has become incredibly adept at reporting the mindless, and the worthless, while completely ignoring the real news. Full story...

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Lorn and acid rain...

Leon Brittan among senior Westminster figures named in new child abuse files...

Government papers about the former home secretary Leon Brittan are among a fresh batch of documents which have come to light months after the conclusion of an official review into whether allegations of child abuse were covered up by the Home Office in the 1980s.

The documents also reveal that the then director general of MI5 corresponded with the Cabinet Secretary in 1986 about an unnamed MP who was alleged to have “a penchant for small boys” but accepted the politican’s word that he did not.

The letter from Sir Anthony Duff to Sir Robert Armstrong added: “At the present stage ... the risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger.”

Making it clear that they are “concerned and disappointed” about not being told earlier about the documents, the authors of a report earlier this year into allegations historical child abuse by powerful figures cited the letter as a “striking example” of how crimes against children were not considered as seriously as they would today. Full story...

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The terror of Modi...

On May 26, 2014, Narendra Modi became the 15th Prime Minster of India. Within the past year, the Western media has hailed his government and he has been a prominent figure in the international pages of the New York Times, garnering accolades for streamlining the bureaucracy and helping to grow the economy. Just a few weeks ago he was encouraging Vladimir Putin to take up yoga, now he’s strengthening ties with America and the West, it would appear that he is a genuine wunderkind and the sky is the limit for the Modi government.

But beneath the glitz and glam is a deeply disturbing individual at the center of a reactionary and theocratically-minded social movement that makes the worst of our Evangelical Christian Tea Partiers seem secularized. Modi in fact has been described by a clinical psychologist as a textbook case of fascism and capable of mass murder. He was denied a visa and prevented from entering the United States in 2005 by the Bush administration due to his support of a 2002 riot in the state of Gujarat that left up to 2,000 members of the Muslim community dead.

Modi hails from an ideological movement called The Sangh Parivar, translated as Family of Associations, a right wing nationalist movement called Hindutva. There is the para-military Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, RSS, founded in 1925 with blatant links to European fascism. Vishva Hindu Parishad, VHP, the religious wing, promotes a brand of Hindu fundamentalism that is tremendously bigoted and especially targets the Muslim minority of India as a species worst than vermin and has promoted hatred of Christians also. And then there is the Bharatiya Janata Party, a major opposition party in the country that has succeeded in taking power and deepening the ethnic and cultural divides that have already led to mass carnage during the 1948 partition, the various wars and border skirmishes with Pakistan, and the tragedies involving Bangladesh and Kashmir. Full story...

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Aid in Gaza: We don’t have the words to deal with this level of suffering...

Today I came to Gaza for the first time. Despite working in the occupied Palestinian territory for almost a year, Israeli entry restrictions and a precarious security situation had prevented me from meeting my colleagues here until now.

My friends warned that I might have difficulties sleeping tonight but I felt so overwhelmed, so exhausted, that I was sure I would collapse as soon as I retreated to the comfort of my hotel room. Turns out they were right: re-imagining the trauma of others is an area where they’ve gained unwanted expertise.

Like most Palestinians from Gaza, not one of my colleagues has left the 45km-long, blockaded Gaza Strip since the last war ended 10 months ago. After living and working through through that brutal 51-day war, they began the business of picking up the pieces of their own lives and that of their broken cities – all in the very well-grounded fear that the next war is only a matter of time.

Most people don’t realise that the frontline of humanitarian response is staffed by people from the place where the crisis is playing out. The idea of internationals jetting in to the rescue is largely illusory. Usually, when the real crisis hits, the internationals are evacuated and the locals are left to play the grim hand they’ve been dealt. Full story...

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China mulls allowing second child for all couples...

China, the world's most populous country which once strictly followed the one-child norm, is now considering allowing a second child for all couples.

China could further relax its one-child policy to allow all couples across the country to have a second child, reported Global Times.

China currently has a population of 1.3 billion. India is close behind with a population of 1.2 billion.

In China, 29 provinces and municipalities have relaxed the one-child policy to allow couples to have a second baby if either parent is from a single-child family.

 Online polls show that a majority of Chinese support the second-child policy, but analysts say they are concerned that young couples are showing less interest in having more children. Full story...

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