Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fast food workers plan nationwide strike for December 4...

Fast food workers in at least 150 cities nationwide will walk off the job on Dec. 4, demanding an industry-wide base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union. Workers unanimously voted on the date for the new strike during a Nov. 25 conference call, held shortly before the second anniversary of the movement’s first strike.

The first of the recent fast food strikes took place on Nov. 29, 2012, in New York City. Two hundred workers from various fast food restaurants around the city participated in that strike, making it the largest work stoppage to ever hit the fast food industry. Since then, the size of the movement has ballooned several times over: With the backing of the powerful service sector labor union SEIU, the campaign has come to include thousands of workers in the U.S.

One of the campaign's main targets, the McDonald's Corporation, has long maintained that labor protests against the company are not actually strikes in any meaningful sense.

"These are not 'strikes,' but are organized rallies for which demonstrators are transported to various locations, and are often paid for their participation," said a company spokesperson in an emailed statement. "At McDonald's we respect everyone's right to peacefully protest." Full story...

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How to stop NSA from snooping on you...

The first thing to know about securing your phone is that you can’t secure your phone.

“If [National Security Agency officials want] to get into your phone, they’re going to get into your phone,” said Chris Soghoian, the principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“Spying on the content of cell phone communications is trivially easy,” added Eva Galperin, global policy analyst with the digital rights advocate Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

That said, the last year has seen a booming desire to make spying more difficult. Since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the government was collecting data on Americans’ phone records and Internet activity, average people now ask: How can I keep the NSA from snooping on my phone?

Major tech companies like Apple and Google promoted their new phones by highlighting the encryption methods they claim will lock out the government. A slew of apps to encrypt text messages and voice calls have popped up. Previously obscure Internet encryption methods are being adopted by non-technophiles. Full story...

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Honour killing: 8-month pregnant teenager murdered in India...

The case is being treated as a suspected ‘honour killing’, and this time it is in India. According to The Times of India, a teenager, eight months pregnant, was strangulated to death allegedly by her two brothers.

Her body was then thrown into a canal here. According to the TOI report, the victim was having an affair with a youth and her parents got to know about it.

A doctor in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, confirmed she was eight months pregnant .

It is alleged that her brother, a cousin brother Bhoore and a third accomplice took her to the canal where they strangulated her and dumped the body.

The girl's family members are absconding and the police have not yet made any arrests as far as the accused are concerned. Full story...

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Bhopal 30 years on: The women of India are battling the poisonous legacy of the world's worst industrial accident...

The children at the Chingari Trust Rehabilitation Centre in old Bhopal are as polite as any you would find anywhere in the world. They approach without hesitation and hold out their arms for a hearty handshake. They look you right in the eye with a mix of curiosity and boldness.

Their mums sit on the floor along the corridor as they wait for the special education classes, physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy to finish. For Chingari is a school for some of the hundreds of children born with physical and mental problems such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy in this part of the city– the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh, slap-bang in the middle of India.

The rate of disability is high due to the presence of the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide factory just down the road: 30 years ago, on the night of 2 December 1984, it exploded, spewing out up to 42 tons of methyl isocyanate. The poison cloud swallowed up the slums that lay across the road, crept through windows and doorways, and brought death, panic – and three decades of suffering.

Around 25,000 people have died as a result of the world's worst industrial accident, including, officially, 8,000 in the first week, of whom 2,259 perished on the first night (although that number is disputed, and the government has just agreed to look again at the figures with a view to revising them upwards). Full story...

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Monsanto - Picking up God's slack...

Ecopop referendum: Swiss reject immigration curbs...

Voters in Switzerland have decisively rejected a proposal to cut net immigration to no more than 0.2% of the population.

The country's 26 cantons rejected the proposal, with about 74% of people voting no in Sunday's referendum.

Supporters of the measure argued that it would have reduced pressure on the country's resources. Opponents said it would have been bad for the economy.

Around a quarter of Switzerland's eight million people are foreigners.

The measure would have required the government to reduce immigration from about 80,000 to 16,000 people a year. Full story...

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Why do British royals refuse to visit Israel?

The bizarre story of the refusal of British royals to visit Israel, while they are constantly in the Arab world, continues.

I wrote about this phenomenon here, last February, when Prince Charles visited Saudi Arabia. As I noted then, the Queen has never set foot in Israel and Prince Charles set foot there briefly only once, for the Rabin funeral.

By contrast, in just the month of November 2014 we found Prince Andrew and Prince Harry at what the Foreign Office must have considered a diplomatic necessity: the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Prince Andrew also visited Saudi Arabia (at the request of the Foreign Office, it was announced).

And Prince Harry also visited Oman. Now with all due respect, Oman is a country of 3.6 million people with a GDP of $80 billion. Israel is a country of 8 million people with a GDP of about $300 billion. No point in laboring the comparison, but one might add that Prince Charles visited Oman in 2013 and the Queen herself visited there in 2010.

There are really only three logical explanations. The first is that the British royals only like to visit royals, and try to stay away from republics. But Prince Charles has visited Egypt time after time, so there goes that theory. The second possible explanation is fear–fear that any kind of royal visit to Israel would harm the UK, for example if Arab lands retaliated by cutting trade with Britain. Full story...

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Questions over Tony Blair’s 'opaque’ deals in Africa...

Tony Blair was involved in attempting to secure business deals for wealthy clients in an African country that he also advised, according to emails obtained by The Telegraph.

The emails sent between one of Mr Blair’s charities – the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) – and the US government suggest the former prime minister was eager to use his connections with sovereign wealth funds to secure deals in South Sudan, an impoverished African state with untapped oil reserves.

The latest disclosure threatens to embroil Mr Blair in fresh criticism over his charitable activities. One Conservative MP said it was time for Mr Blair to make a “full disclosure” of his various business dealings to ensure there was no conflict of interest between his philanthropic and moneymaking activities, while a leading human rights charity criticised Mr Blair for being “opaque”.

 The controversy follows the decision by the US arm of the charity Save the Children to give Mr Blair its “Global Legacy” prize for his work alleviating poverty in Africa. The award led to a letter of protest from staff across the wider international charity. An online petition demanding the award be revoked has attracted more than 113,000 signatures. Full story...

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VIP paedophile ring 'abused teenage boy INSIDE Buckingham Palace and Balmoral Castle'

A teenage boy working at Buckingham Palace revealed he was groomed and sexually abused by a VIP paedophile ring there.

The lad was also assaulted at the Royal Family’s Scottish retreat Balmoral, according to shocking Home Office files, reports the Sunday People.

In a heartbreaking note, the boy – then just 16 – told how he was the victim of “exploitation of the highest order”.

The chilling claims could now be the subject of a police investigation into historic allegations of child sex abuse in the 1970s and 80s – linked to MPs and powerful figures.

The disturbing account was passed directly to the then Home Secretary Leon Brittan but he ruled it was “not practical” to investigate. Full story...

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

School expels child over vaccine that even the doctor refuses to give ...

An 8 year-old Long Island girl has been kicked out of school, and the reason is outrageous.

Ceili McNicholas was told not to return to Long Island’s Laddie A. Decker Sound Beach School after her mother Jamie refused to let her receive the T-Dap booster, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

The decision to skip the booster wasn’t solely Jamie’s idea – her daughter’s pediatrician won’t administer the shot because it is labeled for children ages 10 and over. Ceili is only 8.

“If we give that T-Dap vaccination between 7 and 10, we are using it off label. And it’s not licensed for usage.. So if we can’t use it, then we are the ones going to be held liable,” Long Island pediatrician Dr. Mary Renna told CBS New York.

Jamie said Ceili is among a small percentage of children who got all their vaccinations for pertussis, also known as whooping cough, under the age of 4. The state recently changed their immunization regulations, and now they are requiring a booster shot for those kids. Full story...

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A golden opportunity for Switzerland...

(...)

If put into practice, the Swiss Gold Initiative increases the chances that the Swiss can protect themselves effectively against the destructive policies which are at work in the international unbacked paper money world.

It seems that the SNB cannot, or does not dare to, deviate from the money printing schemes pursued in all major currency areas. It is only the Swiss people who can bring to a halt a monetary policy that will sooner or later end in a debasement of their currency.

The 20-percent rule might not live up to what a perfectly sound money regime should look like: free market money, free banking, and no central banking. However, if strictly adhered to, the 20-percent rule is by all means a highly promising starting point on a journey to truly sound money.

If the Swiss put the Initiative into practice, the world will realize that there are alternatives to today’s unbacked paper money madness. In that sense, a successful Initiative could be a game changer for the better, for Switzerland and also for many other countries in this world. Full story...

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Twerking in South-Africa...

French police in crisis as suicide rate spirals...

On November 24th a young policewoman based near Paris was sitting in a friend’s garden when she took out her service weapon and turned it on herself.

Just days earlier in Bastia, on the island of Corsica, a young police captain took her own life when she grabbed a colleagues gun and shot herself.

These incidents were not isolated.

On Friday a tweet from a police union announced that a policeman in the north of France had shot himself at home to become the 50th officer to take his own life since the start of the year. That compares to 40 last year and 43 in 2011 and 2012, with another month still to come.

 France’s police union leaders say officers are suffering from what the French call a “ras-le-bol”, a fatigue or malaise, that basically means they’ve had enough. Full story...

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Facebook can gain direct access to your mobile and take pictures or make videos at any time, MPs warn...

Facebook can gain direct access to a person’s mobile and take pictures or make videos at any time without explicit consent, MPs warn as they call on social media companies to simplify their terms and conditions.

The MP said that they should simplify the conditions of using their services, which are designed for US courts, because they are so impenetrable that “no reasonable person” can be expected to understand them.

The MPs on the Science and Technology select committee called for the Government to draw up new guidelines for websites and apps explaining clearly how they use personal data, warning that laws will be needed if companies fail to comply.

The committee highlighted terms for Facebook Messenger's mobile app, used by more than 200,000 million people a month, that means it can gain direct access to a mobile or tablet, including to take pictures or make videos, at any time without explicit confirmation from the owner.

 MPs also pointed to criticism of the company earlier this year after it carried out a psychological experiment that recorded users’ moods as news feeds on the social network were manipulated. Full story...

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Black Friday: Five ways retailers are tricking you into buying stuff you probably don't need...

Police were called to supermarkets and stores across Britain as stores opened their doors to hundreds of customers on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

A number of shops opened at midnight, boasting 'massive bargains' - and officers were called to four London supermarkets to ensure that sale-goers "were able to enter and exit the stores safely".

Nobody was injured, and no arrests were made, Scotland Yard said. The same scenes were recreated in Cardiff, where South Wales Police reported a number of calls from staff at Tesco stores who were concerned about "customer conduct".

“Black Friday”, with its promises of in-store bargains – such as 40-inch LED TVs at £139 a pop at Asda or cheap tablets at Currys PC World – draws the more ravenous of bargain hunters to stores, even if many still question the logic of an annual UK sales event pegged to the US Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Full story...

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Australia intercepts Sri Lankan asylum seekers, turns back most...

Australia has intercepted a boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers off the coast of Indonesia, handing back all but one to Sri Lankan authorities, who arrested them for breaching immigration laws.

The Sri Lankans are the first to be turned back in five months as Australia’s highest court hears a test case challenging the government’s right to intercept asylum seekers’ boats outside its territorial waters.

Australian border protection staff intercepted the vessel carrying 38 asylum seekers on November 15, and transferred the passengers to a Sri Lankan naval boat where their applications for refugee status were assessed, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday.

One passenger was accepted for further processing and 37 were returned to Sri Lankan authorities, Morrison said in a statement. Full story...

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Slavery levels in UK 'higher than thought'

There could be 10-13,000 victims of slavery in the UK, far more than previous estimates, analysis for the Home Office suggests.

Modern slavery victims are said to include women forced into prostitution, "imprisoned" domestic staff and workers in fields, factories and fishing boats.

The figure for 2013 is the first time the government has made an official estimate of the scale of the problem.

The Home Office has launched a strategy to help tackle slavery.

It says the victims include people trafficked from more than 100 countries - the most prevalent being Albania, Nigeria, Vietnam and Romania - as well as British-born adults and children.

Data from the National Crime Agency's Human Trafficking Centre last year put the number of slavery victims in the UK at 2,744. Full story...

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Filipina maid in Saudi Arabia rescued after video plea...



An emotional plea for help by a maid in Saudi Arabia has fanned the flames of the debate about conditions for domestic workers in the Gulf.

Nargelene Mendez, originally from the Philippines, posted a video to her Facebook page showing the pantry where she slept and talking about being abused by her employer, a retired police officer.

"They beat my colleague yesterday," she says. "They also beat me. Please help us. I'm begging you."

The video hit a nerve and was shared widely not only in the Philippines - home to millions of people who travel to the Middle East in search of work - but also in Spain, the US and the Gulf itself. The original post now has nearly half a million views.

Many of the comments on the version posted on YouTube were in Arabic.

"One day we might be in their shoes, these foreigners we mistreat," one user said, although others were less sympathetic. Full story...

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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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India's child labourers...

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 PĂ©rez 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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RELEASE US - a short film on police brutality...

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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