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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The future of relationships? Soon millions of men will be having sex with life-like female robots...

If men had a choice between real women and female robots that were almost “virtually indistinguishable” from real women, which would they choose? Certainly many men would never be willing to totally give up on relationships with living, breathing women, but as robotic technology continues to advance at an exponential rate there will be men (and women) that will be tempted to abandon real relationships entirely. And that day is approaching a lot faster than you may think. As you will read about below, incredibly life-life female robots are being introduced in Japan right now. The creators of these robots are not designing them for sexual intercourse at the moment, but experts say that it is only a matter of time before this technology is adapted for such purposes. The potential market for female sex androids is absolutely massive, and there are no laws against such a thing in most countries. But as men all over the globe begin acquiring these sex droids, what will that do to real relationships between men and women and what will that say about our society?

With each passing year, robots are becoming much more like humans. And for some reason, many of these robot designers purposely choose to have their robots resemble very attractive young women.

One of these very attractive female robots, “Asuna”, has created quite a stir in Japan recently. The following is from a recent Daily Mail article about this remarkable droid…Full story...

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US fire chief caught on camera 'refusing to help crash victims because they're black'

Shocking footage has emerged in the US that appears to show a Kentucky fire chief refusing to provide assistance to a family involved in a road traffic accident because they are black.

The video, captured on the body camera of a police officer for the Bullitt County Sheriff’s department, purports to show Southeast Bullitt Fire Chief Julius Hatfield responding to an accident involving a white man in a pickup truck and a black family of four.

According to WDRB News, which obtained the video, the initial stages show Hatfield offering to help change the tyre on Loren Dicken’s pickup to “save [him] a bill”.

Hatfield is then showed Dicken to a waiting ambulance and, according to WDRB News, he saw that the white crash victim was picked up from hospital by firefighters and taken to the local station, where his car was waiting for him. More + video...

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Paedophile orgies in luxury flats and claims three boys were murdered by VIPs: Special report into the growing stench of a cover-up by the Establishment...

The claim was as clear as it was chilling: behind the genteel façade of one of London’s most famous apartment blocks, children faced abuse on an industrial scale.

Every weekend, groups of vulnerable boys from local care homes were being smuggled to an address in Dolphin Square, Pimlico. There, after being plied with alcohol, they suffered sickening sexual assaults.

The paedophile ring orchestrating these crimes had, over time, come to believe it enjoyed immunity, a whistle-blower told police at the time.

After all, members were said to include a cross-section of Britain’s most influential politicians.

‘I had been specifically told that we were dealing with Conservative MPs,’ that whistle-blower, John Mann, recalled to me this week. ‘That’s one of the things which stood out for me.

‘Another was how violent it sounded. There was talk of dogs being involved and beatings. I would describe it as quite awful; the sort of thing you don’t easily forget.’ Full story...

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Ukip's Rochester win shows voters no longer trust the main parties...

The headline on this column last week was “Miliband is driving white van man into the arms of Ukip”. I promise loyal readers that I did not conspire with Emily Thornberry to make my prediction come true. But I must thank her all the same. Her mocking Tweet during Thursday’s by-election polling pictured a white van in front of a St George’s-flag-festooned house in what she thought was Rochester. (Actually, it was Strood: getting places wrong is another good way of irritating locals.) She accidentally parked that much-maligned vehicle right in the middle of public argument, and had to resign from the Labour front bench.

It is taking the main political parties and most of the mainstream media a very long time to adjust to how things are changing.

On the BBC news yesterday morning, I heard its political correspondent telling us that “the [Rochester] result was never in doubt”, and implying that it had not been all that good for Ukip. Never in doubt! Who would have predicted, even six months ago, that two Tory MPs with safe seats would resign them and re-present themselves to their voters, standing for a party which had never before won a seat? Who would have predicted, if they were mad enough to do this, that they would win? Certainly not the BBC. Yet they did all these things.

 At the Conservative Party conference last month, the leadership boasted that although it might not be able to halt Douglas Carswell in Clacton, it would crush the treacherous Mark Reckless in Rochester. David Cameron and the Tory part of the Cabinet more or less stopped governing the country to pound the streets of Rochester (and Strood). Every Tory MP was ordered into the constituency. Yet Mr Reckless won. The Tories did very badly. Labour did worse. The Liberal Democrats did worst of all. What are they all misunderstanding? Full story...

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German duo charged with vandalism in Singapore face caning...

Two German men were charged Saturday with breaking into a Singapore metro depot and spray-painting graffiti on a train, offences punishable by jail time and flogging with a cane.

Andreas Von Knorre and Elton Hinz, both 21, were charged at a district court with committing trespass and vandalism in the early hours of November 8.

Both men appeared relaxed as the charges were read to them in German by an interpreter.

Prosecutors told the judge the two men will be remanded in police custody until November 28 “to assist investigations and re-enact the crime scene”.

The charge sheets said Van Knorre and Hinz broke into the suburban depot and spray-painted graffiti on the exterior of a metro train cabin. The depot is a restricted zone surrounded by fences topped with barbed wire.

The two men were extradited by neighbouring Malaysia on Friday after being apprehended at Kuala Lumpur International Airport as they were leaving for Australia. Full story...

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Horse burlesque

Kenya's Catholic bishops claim tetanus vaccine is stealth birth control project...

A row between the Catholic Church and the government over a tetanus vaccine aimed at women in their childbearing years has clergy urging people to shun the injection, saying it’s a stealth population-control ploy.

On Tuesday (Nov.11), the bishops appearing before the parliamentary health committee said they had tested the vaccine privately and were shocked to find it was laced with a birth control hormone called beta human chorionic gonadotropin.

“We are calling on all Kenyans to avoid the tetanus vaccination campaign because we are convinced it is indeed a disguised population control program,” said Bishop Paul Kariuki, chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ health committee.

The tangle began in March, when bishops became suspicious about the vaccine, which was targeted at women in the reproductive ages of 14 to 49, and excluded boys and men.

An ordinary tetanus shot can protect a person for 10 years, with a booster available for those who have suffered an injury.

The bishops also wondered why the campaign was being rolled out in phases and in secrecy. Full story...

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India to offer online visas to 45 countries...

India will offer online visa facilities for 45 countries including US, Australia, Germany, Israel, Japan, UAE, Palestine, Jordan, Thailand, Singapore and Russia. The facility will be announced on November 27 by the ministries of home affairs and tourism.

Elaborating on the Modi government's focus on tourism and culture, Union minister Mahesh Sharma told TOI, "The PM has given a vision for the importance of Indian tourism. We will take the country's rich heritage and culture via tourism and aviation to the world. We propose to propagate to the four corners of the world. This will create employment for youth whether it is medical tourism, adventure or rural tourism."

Countries that already have visa on arrival and will be able to apply under the electronic travel authorization scheme include Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Phillippines, Laos and South Korea.

Once implemented ETA will allow foreign travelers to apply for a visa and receive an online confirmation within three to five working days. ETA will be available for a 30 day period from the date of the tourist's arrival in India. The government plans to establish a separate website to extend the facility to foreigners intending to visit India as tourists. Full story...

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Online millionaire gives up fortune to live in hut...

Liu Jingchong, 38, was a successful multi-millionaire in China before he tossed all of his possessions and moved to a remote hut on the side of a mountain.

However, the former manufacturing and textile baron might never have left behind the rat race in the bustling Guangdong province had it not been for a freak car accident — and a book.

“It is true that I earned a lot of money and I can’t say I hated my life,” Jingchong told Central European News. “I would even say that I loved it, but all that changed when friends of mine and I had a car accident in a remote part of the country in north-western China’s Qinghai province.”

“We needed to get a new car and not all of us were fit to travel immediately. But as I was relatively OK, I stayed in a hotel where about the only thing to do was read a book on Buddhism.”

“I have to say it’s changed my life.” Full story...

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Five seniors die in Georgia care center after receiving flu shot...

Healthcare workers at Hope Assisted Living & Memory Care Center in Dacula, Georgia, whose identities have not been made known as of this writing, have informed Health Impact News that on November 7, 2014, five residents of the center received flu vaccinations, only to die one week later.

The workers also explained that these individuals immediately developed a fever after receiving the flu shot. Furthermore, they maintain that the number of people who died during the time frame in which they did is significant; not only was it in the days that followed their flu shot, but one source notes that, typically, the center "maybe loses a couple of people every 6 months or longer to Alzheimers," but five people in a one-week period is very atypical.

The center's website says, "The Hope Center is a new state-of -the art [sic] assisted living and Alzheimer Care facility servicing Lawrenceville Georgia, Gwinnett County and Atlanta, Georgia. The 64 residences are designed specifically to care for those afflicted with Alzheimer's and other dementias."

Interestingly, the center maintained a Facebook page before news over this incident became public. An image of its page is shown on Health Impact News, one that happened to include a threatening message from the center to the person(s) responsible for bringing the matter to light. Their then-message read: Full story...

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'Stop already, Sir Bob': Geldof's Band Aid 30 song unpopular among Africans...

Bob Geldof's Ebola charity single looks set to become a huge international hit, but the project has again run into criticism from a pro-Africa website and a London-born, Ghanian-raised singer. The musician, Fuse ODG, admitted he withdrew because he was "shocked and appalled" by the song's lyrics.

Singers like Bono, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran and One Direction participated in the project, which aimed to prevent Ebola from spreading beyond West Africa.

It is also far from a hit across the continent it is sung for, if iTunes chart figures are any guide.

Do They Know It's Christmas has sold over 250,000 copies in three days in the United Kingdom and the country's official charts company predicts it will top the singles chart.

It is set to raise funds worldwide too, already making No.1 on the iTunes singles chart in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Canada and No.8 in the United States.

The song has created less excitement in Africa though, sitting at No.3 in South Africa, but No.8 in Ghana, No.15 in Kenya, No.18 in Egypt, No.26 in Uganda and No.31 in Nigeria. Ebola-affected nations Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea do not have iTunes music charts. Full story...

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Don't let me down by one-year-old Diego Mello...

Ukip has started a class war - and is winning...

Thank goodness that’s over! Mark Reckless won the Rochester and Strood by-election after what felt like the longest election count in history: Robert Mugabe has faked national elections in a shorter time. But when the announcement finally came, the result was clear. Ukip first with about seven points over the Tories (as Ukip insiders were saying the day before voting); Labour embarrassed into third place; the Lib Dems garnering a pathetic 349 votes. I sincerely look forward to the day when my children say to me, “Daddy what was a Lib Dem?” And I can reply, “They were what people voted for before Ukip came along.”

The ghost of the Lib Dems might whisper that they were the leopards before the jackals – and Ukip is certainly starting to look like a more plebian third party. In his victory speech, Reckless claimed that the radical “working class tradition” has “found a home in Ukip”. And he’s not far wrong. Britain now has a political class war on its hands and – in perverse British fashion – it’s the Right, not the Left, that started it.

 Cast your mind back to 2010. Ukip was a single issue party: anti-EU. Dig beneath the surface and it was composed of disaffected Thatcherite Tories – in favour of a flat tax and broadly libertarian in a way that stood to benefit the upper middle-class. Fast forward to 2014 and they are completely different. One suspects that their core appeal is on the subject of immigration; Europe is a background theme but by no means their standard; and they’ve adopted a populist philosophical position that confounds old golf course stereotypes of this party. Full story...

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Fears grow in India about Hindu "Modi-fication" of education...

Indians were flying aeroplanes, carrying out stem cell research and may even have been using cosmic weapons 5,000 years ago, according to the chairman of India's leading historical organisation.

Professor Y. Sudershan Rao, the head of the Indian Council of Historical Research, has been criticized by fellow historians for comments that Hindu epics are adequate to understand the ancient world, rather than relying on evidence or research.

The Hindu nationalist government appointed Rao to the prestigious academic post soon after winning the biggest landslide in three decades, fuelling concerns of a push to teach the superiority of Hindu values and mythology at the cost of academic rigour, and cutting against the grain of secularism that runs through multi-faith modern India.

"We have so many proofs that these events happened," Rao, 69, said in an interview, describing events in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the ancient Hindu epics about love and war, truth and deceit, that feature characters using inextinguishable fire and weapons with the destructive power of a nuclear arsenal. Full story...

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Mafia bosses used crocodiles, boa constrictors and pythons to intimidate victims...

Police in Italy have lifted the lid on an enormous collection of animals they have confiscated from jailed or arrested mob bosses.

Threatening an adversary with a shotgun or a knife is no longer sufficient for the more flamboyant godfathers it seems, who are now resorting to a menagerie of exotic wildlife to extort protection money from business owners or to intimidate rivals.

Among the confiscated hoard were crocodiles, boa constrictors and an African grey parrot that had been trained by its drug-dealing mafia owner to say: “Adesso ti sparo” – “Now I’m going to shoot you”.

When drug addicts rang the mobster’s mobile phone to place an order, the bird would squawk down the line: “How much do you need?” (in Italian, “Quanta te ne serve?”)

 When police raided the home of a known mafia boss near the town of Caserta, a stronghold of the Camorra near Naples, they found a crocodile kept on the terrace of the house. Full story...

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How many more "Godmen" must we tolerate?

Several years ago, I was invited to an ashram on the outskirts of Bombay to attend a sermon by a Godman. The invitation came from a young industrialist - the baba was speaking after a long time and I was told it was sure to be a memorable occasion.

The crowds had gathered from the morning when I reached the well-appointed ashram. White chairs were laid out for the VIPs - I spotted a Hollywood film actor, a retired star from the Bombay film industry, a couple of local politicians and several others who were clearly rich and well-connected. All around the platform were less-privileged devotees, the masses, standing under the scorching mid-morning sun. The sermon was a short one, full of homilies and messages, but it appeared that several people were moved just by the sight of the ageing baba.

Soon after, my host took me aside and introduced me to a couple of officious looking men. They did not waste time in preliminaries - the baba was getting a lot of bad press - there were allegations of sexual exploitation of female disciples; they needed support and advice. Could I help? A sweet retainer would be my reward. Needless to say, I declined. Full story...

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

WhatsApp starts encrypting user messages on Android devices...

WhatsApp, the world’s most popular mobile messaging application, is adding a default encryption service for messages sent on its platform, what is said to be the largest encryption service of its kind.

The company is bringing end-to-end encryption via TextSecure, a software that scrambles messages with a device-specific cryptographic key, to its over 600 million users - the largest such platform according to statista.com. Deemed “practically uncrackable” by Wired, the security enhancement means that messages cannot be deciphered when stored or in transmission between devices.

The texting behemoth, acquired by Facebook for $22 billion earlier this year, has been working with Open Whisper Systems, a privacy-oriented nonprofit, to develop the change over the last six months.

End-to-end encryption is so hard to break because unscrambling keys are stored only on users’ devices. Previously, the WhatsApp encryption system stored keys on their server as well, giving WhatsApp and Facebook administrators potential access to user communications.

 The TextSecure encryption protocol uses a form of what’s known as “forward secrecy” meaning that a fresh key is created for every new message. Full story...

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Pakistan sentences four to death over 'honour killing' that shocked world...

Four men have been sentenced to death in Pakistan for the murder of a pregnant woman bludgeoned to death in the centre of the country's second-largest city for marrying against her family's wishes, lawyers said.

A mob of more than two dozen attackers, among them numerous relatives including the victim's father and brother, battered Farzana Parveen to death with bricks outside the high court in the eastern city of Lahore in May.

So-called "honour" killings are commonplace in Pakistan but the brutal and brazen nature of Parveen's killing meant the case made headlines around the world.

"The court today awarded death sentences to four accused – the father, brother, cousin and ex-husband of the victim for murder and terrorism," prosecutor Rai Asif Mehmood told AFP.

 Mehmood said the sentences were handed down for three counts – murder, terrorism and the killing of an unborn baby – and the court had also fined each defendant 100,000 rupees (£630). Full story...

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Muhammad Ali in candid camera show...

Father claims police covered up son’s murder by Westminster paedophile ring...

The father of a murdered boy has claimed that his son may have died at the hands of a Westminster paedophile ring and said Scotland Yard helped cover up the crime.

Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate whose eight-year-old son Vishal was killed in 1981, said he was contacted by a male prostitute at the time who said the boy may have been abducted and murdered by “highly placed” paedophiles linked to a now notorious guesthouse.

Mehrotra told the Telegraph that the prostitute alleged that judges and politicians were involved in a child abuse ring – but when he took a recording of the call to the police they did nothing about it.

The claims are the latest concerning an alleged establishment paedophile ring in Westminster in the 1970s and 80s.

Scotland Yard, which has launched two linked investigations into the child abuse ring allegations, declined to comment on the latest claims. Full story...

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Iceland jails former Landsbanki CEO...

Iceland has secured a conviction against the last of the former chief executives of its three largest banks, as the Nordic island continues to plough a lone furrow in its attempts to prosecute the misdeeds of the financial crisis.

Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent reports that Sigurjon Arnason, former chief executive of Landsbanki, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for market manipulation, but nine months were suspended.

Two other former Landsbanki executives were convicted and one was acquitted in a case about whether they manipulated the bank's share price in the months leading up to its collapse in October 2008.

Arnason joins Larus Welding, the former chief executive of Glitnir, and Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson and Sigurdur Einarsson, the ex-chief executive and chairman of Kaupthing, in receiving convictions.

The three largest Icelandic banks imploded spectacularly in the autumn of 2008 after amassing assets equivalent to 10 times the size of Iceland's economy as they funded an acquisition spree by local businessmen abroad.

Iceland is unique in the western world in actively targeting the top management of its former banks as it aggressively investigates the financial crimes committed during the run-up to their collapse. Source...

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Five Thai students held for 'Hunger Games' salute at PM...

Five Thai students who flashed a salute inspired by Hollywood film series The Hunger Games at Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha have been detained.

The three-fingered salute was widely used by protesters against Thailand's military coup in May.

The military had threatened in June to arrest anyone who refused to stop doing it when challenged.

Gen Prayuth led the coup, which came after months of political deadlock and unrest, and became PM in August.

On Wednesday, he was speaking at an event in the north-eastern province of Khon Kaen when five students from a local university sitting near the podium stood up. Full story...

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'No, never,' says Rajinikanth on joining politics...

Superstar Rajinikanth, who is in Panjim to attend the 45th International Film Festival, has said he has no plans to join politics in an exclusive interview with NDTV.

"No never, no politics for me," he said, when asked if he had any such plans.

The star, who has received invitations from various political parties, had earlier said that he was "not afraid of politics".

At a film event on Saturday, the superstar had said, "Politics is dangerous and deep. I am not afraid of politics, but hesitant. In politics you need strong roots."

At the festival, the 63-year-old actor will receive the Centenary Award for Personality of the Year. Full story...

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Female police recruits in Indonesia are made to take ‘virginity tests’

"All women who want to become policewomen should keep their virginity,” says the police force's jobs website.

Woman applying to join Indonesia’s national police are subjected to “virginity tests” that are described by recipients as “painful and traumatic,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Tuesday.

Although senior police authorities insist the practice had been abolished, HRW claims to have interviewed female police officers and applicants in six Indonesian cities who had undergone the “discriminatory and degrading” test — two of them in 2014.

Nisha Varia, associate women’s rights director at HRW, said the practice “humiliates women” and called on police authorities to “immediately and unequivocally abolish the test, and then make certain that all police recruiting stations nationwide stop administering it.”

The practice is administered as part of the recruitment physical examination, two senior policewomen told HRW, and is intended to determine whether female applicants’ hymens are intact. Full story...

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Across Europe disillusioned voters turn to outsiders for solutions...

To make their point that France’s mainstream parties are both as inept as each other, the Front National has taken to calling its rivals the UMPS, an amalgam of the acronyms for the opposition centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire and the ruling Parti Socialiste.

The FN’s populist anti-immigration message is broadly similar to that of Nigel Farage’s Ukip. And as with Ukip in Britain, the FN is benefiting not just from disillusionment caused by the economic crisis but from profound disillusion with the two principal parties, which have formerly had a monopoly on power.

On the left, President François Hollande and his governing Socialist party are facing criticism from without and within. Economic liberals believe the administration has not and will not carry out necessary structural reforms to create jobs, boost growth and cut public spending. It comes as a surprise to no one that France’s deficit is in contravention of European commission rules. This was the case even under the centre-right Nicolas Sarkozy, who did little to reduce it.

The commission has now lost patience and Hollande, the man currently in charge, is being held responsible. The president appears to be floundering. At one point France thought it wanted a monsieur normal, and Hollande fitted the bill. Now the country is giving the impression it wants a hero and a saviour and that Hollande is too ordinary. There is also a feeling among many PS supporters that Hollande won the presidency by paying lip service to a socialist programme, only to turn into a social democrat in office. Some suspect this was a deliberate and less than honest move. Full story...

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India tops report on global slavery...

The 2014 Global Slavery Report, conducted by the Walk Free Foundation, estimates that India has the highest number of individuals living in slavery out of any country worldwide. The report finds that out of an estimated 35.8 million men, women and children around the world living under conditions of modern slavery, 14 million are in India (followed by 3 million in China and 2 million in Pakistan) . India ranked first in terms of absolute numbers of people in modern slavery, and fifth overall in terms of percentage of its total population (1.14 percent) living in modern slavery (Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Haiti, and Qatar ranked above India, in that order). The total number of slaves in India is 20 percent higher than the 2013 report because of a change in methodology.

Modern slaves are defined as individuals subject to forced labor, debt bondage, human trafficking, forced sexual exploitation, and forced marriage. This is a considerably broader understanding of slavery that addresses issues of human and labor rights beyond the conventional understanding of the term as human property. This is in part why the 2014 report estimates 35.8 million modern slaves worldwide while the International Labor Organization (ILO) counts 21 million worldwide — the ILO estimate focuses on forced labor primarily. According to the Walk Free Foundation, evidence of modern slavery in one form or another was found in all 167 countries surveyed for the 2014 report.

(...)

The report notes that many products manufactured in or exported from India, such as bricks, carpets, cotton, embroidered textiles, garments, rice, and stone, are produced using modern slavery. Full story...

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Video: German politician hides in toilet from truth about Israel...

Author Max Blumenthal had one goal in mind when he went to the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, in Berlin on Monday.

He wanted to show a photograph of the al-Kilani family – German citizens killed by an Israeli bomb that struck the Gaza City home they were sheltering in last summer – to leading left-wing politician Gregor Gysi.

On 21 July, Ibrahim al-Kilani and his wife Taghrid were killed along with their five children: Reem, 12, Sawsan, 11, Yasin, 9, Yasser, 8, and four-year-old Elias. Mahmoud Derbas, aged 16, was killed in the same strike.

Blumenthal hoped to ask the lawmaker and influential figure in the center-left Die Linke (The Left) party why he and other German leaders had said and done nothing to bring justice for the al-Kilanis – and why Germany is instead providing Israel with new gunboats which will likely be used to attack Palestinian fishermen.

Instead, as the video above shows, there was a bizarre spectacle as Gysi fled from Blumenthal and fellow journalist David Sheen and locked himself in a toilet. More + video...

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