Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Rednecks? What rednecks?
What they are talking about are rednecks. But in their political correctness, media types cannot bring themselves to utter the word "redneck." So I'll say it for them: redneck-redneck-redneck-redneck.
The fact is that we American rednecks embrace the term in a sort of proud defiance. To us, the term redneck indicates a culture we were born in and enjoy. So I find it very interesting that politically correct people have taken it upon themselves to protect us from what has come to be one of our own warm and light hearted terms for one another.
On the other hand, I can quite imagine their concern, given what's at stake in the upcoming election. We represent at least a third of all voters and no US president has ever been elected without our support. More...
Stressed-up Indians no longer lured by call centres jobs...
He works at a call centre in Mumbai
His colleagues at the call centre where he works are. Says one of his best friends and colleague: "I'm leaving. Have been planning to for sometime.
"As soon as I get another job, even if it's less paying, I will leave this industry for good."
The youth of India seem to have fallen out of love with the call centre industry.
Even before the impact of the economic crisis could be felt on India's $11bn business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, which gets 70% of all the outsourced work from the US, it was in the grip of a crisis of its own.
Several companies, mostly smaller ones unable to maintain international standards, have shut down in Mumbai and Delhi. More...
Singapore bloggers pay last respects to JB Jeyaretman...
The passing on of Mr. JB Jeyaratnam is a sad day for all Singaporeans.
JBJ, as he is affectionately known, is one man who believes in sticking resolutely to his principles to the very end.
To JBJ, the Westminster model of Parliamentary democracy is the only one worth emulating.
To JBJ, the many tweakings of our political model are at best compromises, at worse these are serious attempts to unfairly entrench the ruling party.
To some JBJ is a hero, to others a failure. There are yet others who feel that he could have played a greater role in the history of this proud little red dot, called Singapore. If only he would yield a little.
History will be the ultimate judge.
Mr. JB Jeyaratnam, May you rest in peace.
Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan
India: the strange case of the girl who bleeds for no reason...
A girl who spontaneously bleeds from her pores has baffled doctors.
Twinkle Dwivedi, 13, has a disorder which means she loses blood through her skin without being cut or scratched.
The teenager has had to undergo transfusions after pints of it seeped through her eyes, nose, hairline, neck and the soles of her feet.
Sometimes her condition is so bad she wakes up with her entire body covered in dried blood.
Her frantic family have sought help from numerous doctors as well as preachers without success.
'I am desperate to help my daughter,' said her mum Nandani Diwedi, 42.
'We are not superstitious people but we became so desperate. We've been to temples, mosques, churches and sufi saints, but nothing has cured her.' More...
Lew Rockwell: Yesterday was one of the worst days in decades for the power elite. It was one of the best for liberty...
I'm fully aware that Paulson and Bernanke have some nefarious scheme in mind to reverse the thrilling defeat of their criminal bailout package, a package shot down by independent members of Congress on both sides. But reflect for a few minutes on what it means that the House did this. It was a revolutionary act in the best sense of that term.
The entire establishment was united in favor of what was surely the most horrible and outrageous bill to ever come before Congress. The Fed, the Treasury, leadership of the Democrats and Republicans, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, all the major think tanks, most talking heads, the wealthiest corporations, important academics – in short, the whole of the power elite – were united in favor of this awful thing that proposed the following: Americans were to be stripped of their earnings and their future to prop up failed enterprises.
In any case, no matter how you look at it, the defeat of the bill is a victory for freedom. The defeat of the power elite is essential for liberty to thrive. For the free market to function, we need the government/corporate cabal to lose its capacity to get its way in every area of life. They need to feel fear. They need to lose security. They need to have a sense of uncertainty as to whether their every wish is our command. The House defeat of the bailout is a magnificent rebuke in that sense.
The failure of the bailout bill was the precondition for economic recovery. It should make believers in liberty realize that we can change history, that tyranny is not our fate, that the leviathan state can be beaten back. Full story...
India: another temple stampede...
Officials told the BBC that at least 150 more were injured in the incident at the Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur.
A wall near the temple is said to have collapsed, causing panic among thousands of gathered devotees.
There have been a number of deadly stampedes in India's temples recently - last month 140 people were killed in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.
Before dawn, thousands of people had made their way to the hill-top temple in a huge 15th Century fort overlooking Jodhpur. More...
Singapore's opposition stalwart, J.B. Jeyaretnam, dies...
Veteran Singapore politician JB Jeyaretnam has died of heart failure in a Singapore hospital, aged 82.
He was the first to break a government monopoly on power in Singapore when he won a seat in parliament in 1981.
He had been forced into bankruptcy over defamation cases won by the government but was planning a new run for office.
Dubbed the Grand Old Man of opposition politics, analysts said Mr Jeyaretnam was a thorn in the side of Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan-yew.
Born in 1926 in Jaffna, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Mr Jeyaretnam trained as a lawyer in Britain before making his home in Singapore. More...
Asian markets in turmoil after bail-out failure...
Japan's Nikkei index dropped more than 550 points to 11,183.71 in the first 45 minutes of trading, while the Australian Securities Exchange fell more than 240 points to 4,560.9.
South Korea's KOSPI dropped more than 120 points to 2,918.9.
Asian markets reacted to the U.S. Dow, which plunged 777 points at closing, or just under 7 percent, in the worst single-day point loss ever, topping even the loss after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Oh boy! Peggy the horse banned from pub!!!
A Tyneside pub has called time on one of its regular visitors after the premises were refurbished.
Peggy, a 12-year-old mare, used to enjoy a pint of beer and a packet of crisps alongside her owner at the Alexandra Hotel in Jarrow.
However, she is no longer allowed to prop up the bar following a refit which included new carpets.
The horse still accompanies her owner, Peter Dolan, on his trip to the pub but has to stay tethered outside.
Landlady Jackie Gray said: "Although she is probably cleaner than some of my customers, I had to put my foot down and show her the door."
Mr Dolan, a 62-year-old retired oil rigger, said: "People come into the pub and the first thing they say is 'Where's Peggy?'
"I tell them she's kicked the habit and is teetotal now."
Bail-out: House gives Wall Street the finger...
In a stunning vote that shocked the capital and worldwide markets, the House on Monday defeated a $700 billion emergency rescue for the nation's financial system, ignoring urgent warnings from President Bush and congressional leaders of both parties that the economy could nosedive without it.
Stocks plummeted on Wall Street even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was officially announced on the House floor.
As a digital screen in the House chamber recorded a cascade of "no" votes against the bailout, Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley of New York shouted news of the falling Dow Jones industrials. "Six hundred points!" he yelled, jabbing his thumb downward. The decline was about 530 points shortly before the close of the trading day.
Bush and a host of leading congressional figures had implored the lawmakers to pass the legislation despite howls of protest from their constituents back home. Not enough members were willing to take the political risk just five weeks before an election.
"No" votes came from both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle. More than two-thirds of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats opposed the bill. More...
Dutch Christian naturists forced to cancel naked mass...
"I don't understand what all the fuss is about," said a spokesman for the Gan Eden or Garden of Eden group.
"We are just a group of Christians and we want to hold a church service."
The Dutch naturist Christians, part of a global movement, held their first service in June, when a clothed priest presided over a nude congregation of 80 people in Zeewolde, a town in the Flevoland region of the Netherlands.
But such was the barrage of hostile public opinion, the second religious event was cancelled and Gan Eden's website shut down.
"Because of the negative publicity and the lurid curses in the guest book we have been obliged to close the site temporarily," says the group's website. More...
China's tainted milk scandal hits Cadbury ...
British chocolate maker Cadbury on Monday became the latest foreign company to be hit by China's tainted milk scandal, ordering a recall of its Chinese-made products after saying tests "cast doubt" on their safety.
Two U.S. food makers were meanwhile investigating Indonesian claims that high traces of the industrial chemical melamine had been found in Chinese-made Oreos, M&Ms and Snickers, but stressed the same goods had tested negative in other Asian countries.
They said they were looking into all possibilities, including counterfeiting.
The milk scandal erupted earlier this month when China's public learned that melamine, which is used to make plastics and fertilizer, had been found in milk powder and was linked to kidney stones in children. Contamination has since turned up in liquid milk, yogurt and other products made with milk.
Four deaths have been blamed on the bad milk and some 54,000 children have developed kidney stones or other illnesses after drinking tainted baby formula.
Countries across Asia have removed items from shelves or banned them outright. More...
Nepal has a new "living goddess..."
Nepal's new Maoist-led government has appointed a 6-year-old girl as a "living goddess" in a town near Kathmandu, for the first time snapping the link between the ancient ritual and the ousted monarchy.
For centuries, the head priest of the Nepali monarchy appointed the "Kumaris" in several towns in the Kathmandu valley. But with the abolition of the monarchy in May, that position has also disappeared.
Instead, officials at the state-run Trust Corporation overseeing cultural affairs appointed Shreeya Bajracharya as the new Kumari of the temple-town of Bhaktapur near Kathmandu, Deepak Bahadur Pandey, a senior official of the agency said.
"The government authorised us to appoint the Kumari and we have done that for the first time," Pandey said. More...
Black Dog Syndrome, or "racism" in the world of pets...
But Julian, as happy a dog as you're likely to see, faces life with a couple of huge impediments. He's big. He's black. And that means he's likely to wait far longer to be adopted than a smaller, light-colored dog.
In the world of animal rescue, they call this phenomenon Black Dog Syndrome. For those that spend weeks and months on adoption lists. For the dogs that head off week after week to pet fairs and return unclaimed when they're over.
For Julian, home for now is a dusty property at the edge of a gravel road in Celina, home base for Animal Guardians of America and its leader, Annette Lambert.
Ms. Lambert, soft-spoken and a little shy, speaks passionately for her charges, many of which are rescues from city pounds on their way to being euthanized.
"We have a lot of great dogs out here," she said, "and a preponderance are black dogs, because they're so difficult to adopt out. More...
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Is internet porn breaking up families?
Paula, a university researcher, works on it during the evenings, while her five-year-old daughter, Daisy, is just getting the hang of the user-friendly icons. Their son, Angus, who's eight, enjoys watching Dr Who on BBC iPlayer.
As they grow older, Rob will probably install some sort of filter to screen out unwanted images. Except that now, if Angus were to stumble upon anything sleazy, it would be less likely to be something "out there" in the internet ether, but rather more connected with his father's recreational interests.
Rob has never hidden what he calls his "moderate" interest in internet porn, but it is already cropping up uncomfortably in family life. "Daisy recently got as far as typing in B for BBC CBeebies and a site for 'best blow jobs' instantly appeared in the search window," grimaces Paula. "There's certainly no such thing as secrecy with Google's predictive typing. I'm not sure if that's reassuring or not."
Two or three times a fortnight, usually when Paula is out, Rob will surf his favourite soft porn websites. It's not a habit that has escalated in the past two years and he certainly doesn't consider it to be a problem. "I wouldn't think of opening a separate account with different passwords because I don't see what I do as offensive," he says. "I would never pay for it, I only look at the stuff that's free." More...
Autriche :un supermarché pour les pauvres?
Au Vinzimarkt de Vienne, ouvert par une association catholique, le pain est gratuit et les autres produits sont vendus au tiers de leur prix.
En pleine campagne électorale, il y a des inaugurations qu’un ministre des Affaires sociales se doit de ne pas rater. Le social-démocrate Erwin Buchinger, a donc fait son boulot en coupant le cordon du tout nouveau Vinzimarkt, à Vienne, le 18 septembre.
« Gut und billig » (« Bon et pas cher »), titre la devanture de ce qui ressemble, vu du trottoir, à un supermarché comme les autres. Pourtant, il n’y a pas partout, comme ici, une queue qui se forme à chaque ouverture du rideau de fer.
C’est qu’ici, on ne fait pas de profit : on vend le chou, les gaufrettes et les lames de rasoir à 30% de leur prix classique… de quoi attirer le chaland. Suite...
Italian blogs are ... newspapers??? No kidding...
What was this newspaper that Carlo Ruta was running? His blog. The judge ruled that since his blog had a headline, that qualified it as a newspaper and since he hadn’t registered it, he was guilty of “stampa clandestina”. Simple. Guilty as charged. He was fined and told to take down his blog. Next case.
Ruta simply took down the blog and put up a new one. But now he is a convicted criminal and he has lost all his original blog material which is obviously a big deal. More...
China in Africa; certainly NOT a love affair...
They have just started to smash the windows. Next, they will pull us out and, well, let's not think about that ...
I am trying not to meet their eyes, but they are staring at me and my companions with rage and hatred such as I haven't seen in a human face before. Those companions, Barbara Jones and Richard van Ryneveld, are - like me - quite helpless in the back seats.
If we get out, we will certainly be beaten to death. If we stay where we are, we will probably be beaten to death.
Our two African companions have - crazily in our view - got out of the car to try to reason with the crowd. It is clear to us that you might as well preach non-violence to a tornado.
At last, after what must have been about 40 seconds but that felt like half an hour, one of the pair saw sense, leapt back into the car and reversed wildly down the rocky, dusty path - leaving his friend behind. More...
Lait frelaté: l'Europe ne veut plus des produits chinois...
La commission européenne a décidé d'interdire l'importation de tous les produits laitiers venant de Chine.
Le scandale du lait frelaté chinois a franchi un nouveau cap. En effet, la commission Européenne a décidé samedi après-midi d'interdire l'importation de tous les "produits laitiers, originaires ou expédiés de Chine et destinés à l'alimentation particulière des nourrissons et des enfants en bas âge".
L'europe a également décidé de mettre en place des contrôles automatiques pour tous les produits importés de Chine qui contiennent "plus de 15% de produits laitiers, ainsi que pour tous les lots de produits dont la teneur en produits laitiers ne peut être établie", c'est à dire du chocolat, des bonbons ou des biscuits.
Depuis deux semaines, ce scandale inquiète les différents gouvernements.
En France, certains produits ont d'ailleurs été retiré des supermarchés français. Et vendredi, on apprenait que des bonbons chinois étaient également retirés de la vente en Grande-Bretagne.
La Chine tente de rassurer l'Europe et a promis un "grand nettoyage".
Egypt: prisoners allowed to order restaurant food...
The state-run Al Ahram newspaper reported that prison authorities have been placing orders with restaurants and then handing them to prisoners about to break their fast.
Muslims fast from dawn to dusk in Ramadan, which started this year on September 1. The security official told Reuters the permission to order food would continue beyond Ramadan.
He said the prisoners were paying for the food. Asked about the favourite meals prisoners have ordered, he said they included meat Kebab and pizza.
The official asked not to be named, citing department policy.
It is not uncommon for prisoners in Egypt to receive meals from their visiting families. Egyptian human rights activists say conditions inside jails in the most populous Arab country are bad, with unclean cells and low-quality food.
Human rights groups also say torture is systematic inside Egyptian jails and police stations. The government denies this and says it prosecutes any officer who tortures detainees.
Tattoo artist and human canvas make a strange deal...
It was an art deal that would create strong bonds between all involved – the artist, his human canvas, the gallery and the buyer.
On a Friday in September, Tim Steiner signed over the life-long exploitation rights to a tattoo that adorned his back to a German art collector for €150,000 (SFr240,000). He also agreed to leave the skin to him when he died.
The deal was facilitated through the Zurich gallery de Pury & Luxembourg, which had been instrumental in pairing up Tim as a human canvas with Belgian artist Wim Delvoye's tattoo project, and later the buyer Rik Reinking.
Steiner was already a fan of Delvoye's work and when he heard about the chance to take part in his latest venture to create, sell and bequest a tattoo, he did not hesitate to come forward.
"I had been looking for an extreme experience and I realised that this was something I would like to take part in," the 32-year-old Zurich musician told swissinfo. "And I was a big fan of tattoos." More...
Bank giant HSBC axes 1,100 jobs...
About half of the cuts, which will affect back room jobs at its global banking and markets operation, will take place in the UK.
HSBC employs about 335,000 people around the world.
Last month, HSBC said half year profits fell 28% to $10.2bn (£5.2bn), as it was forced to write-off $14bn from bad debts in the US and asset write-downs.
Meanwhile, pre-tax profits fell 35% to $2.1bn during the same period.
An HSBC spokesman said the firm had opted to reduce its workforce, "because of market conditions and the economic environment, and our cautious outlook for 2009".
Many of the job-losses will be at the headquarters of HSBC's investment banking division, which are in London's Canary Wharf.
Banks around the world have been coming under increased pressure from the credit crisis currently affecting financial markets.
The problems have forced governments to step in and boost money markets as well as bail out a number of companies.
Earlier this year, the UK government had to buy mortgage lender Northern Rock, while in the US lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been rescued as well as insurer AIG and investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.
- Bailout backlash: Americans are waking up...
- Safe and sound, maybe, but bank customers are understandably nervous...
- The monarchs of money have been exposed as arrogant fools...
- Huge bonuses paid to City bankers was a factor in the credit crunch...
- Laxmi Das, the Indian beggar who has opened a bank account. Wow!
Switzerland: human breast-milk dishes banned from "stork" restaurant!!!
The Storchen restaurant, in Iberg on the outskirts of Winterthur, had advertised for mothers to sell their breast milk for the special menu. But breastfeeding counsellors had labelled the project unethical.
The idea was eventually scrapped after canton Zurich food inspectors said it broke regulations, and threatened to take action. "Humans are not on the list of authorised milk suppliers such as cows or sheep," said department head Rolf Etter.
Locher had planned to serve up human milk in dishes of soup, antelope steak with sauce and the classic dish of Zürcher Geschnetzeltes – bite sized pieces of meat in a creamy sauce. The Storchen, which coincidentally means Stork in English, would have served up these delicacies during a series of special offer weeks. More...
Les bunkers suisses: à quoi servent-ils?
Vingt ans après la fin de la guerre froide, entourée d'Etats amis, la Suisse se retrouve avec un problème: que faire des fortifications cachées dans les montagnes? La plupart sont connues et celles qui sont censées restées secretes ne le seront plus longtemps, curiosité médiatique oblige.
Le bunker qui devait servir de centrale de commandement au gouvernement suisse en temps de guerre vient ainsi de céder à la pression médiatique. Les coordonnées exactes de la «Centrale de commandement K20» ont été publiées sur internet fin août, à l'étranger et en Suisse. Suite...
Saturday, September 27, 2008
What Nature magazine thinks of Obama and McCain!!! Hilarious!
Has the American presidential campaign gone to the dogs?
One could be forgiven for thinking so after seeing the latest issue of Nature magazine.
The world's leading scientific journal has featured a powerful image of John McCain and Barack Obama on its front cover. The pair radiate statesmanlike-authority, the image is suitably sombre for the weighty interview inside.
Then, however, you see the back cover.
In an unfortunate choice, advertisers placed there an image of two labrador pups - one black, one golden, in an uncanny mirror image of the grave image on the front.
The dogs strike eerily similar poses to Barack Obama, the first black American presidential candidate for a major political party, and his Republican rival John McCain, tanned golden brown from the Arizona sun.
The journal swears it is horrified by the coincidence.
"We didn't know until the issue landed on our desks," Nature pleaded to the media.
"It just goes to show that editorial and advertising aren't working in cahoots."
India: Police ordered to book people who poop in public...
Even while Maharashtra is on tenterhooks fearing where the next blast might take place and the state police force is trying to thwart terrorists, the 1.75 lakh policemen have been told to take up another responsibility, that of booking people who defecate in open places.
The order, officials say, was issued to ensure that Maharashtra [population: 11 crore] maintains its numero uno position in the Nirmal Gram Swachchata Abhiyaan, a cleanliness drive launched by the Central government about three years ago to protect citizens from diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera.
Toilet blocks are being set up across the state as part of the campaign, which is being implemented by the department of water supply & sanitation held by Ajit Pawar. But, the circular issued by the state home department says, despite efforts to create awareness about cleanliness, people continue to use open spaces for morning ablutions, ignoring the toilet blocks set up for the purpose. More...
Making ice-cream from ... mama's breast milk???
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is asking the ice cream maker to begin using breast milk in its products instead of cow's milk, saying it would reduce the suffering of cows and calves and give ice cream lovers a healthier product.
The idea got a cool reception Thursday from Ben & Jerry's officials, the company's customers and even La Leche League International, the world's oldest breast-feeding support organization, which promotes the practice — for babies, anyway.
PETA wrote a letter to company founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield on Tuesday, telling them cow's milk is hazardous and that milking them is cruel.
"If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers — and cows — would reap the benefits," wrote Tracy Reiman, executive vice president of the animal rights advocacy group. She said dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies and obesity. More...
Six years in Guantanamo ... for refusing to be a spy
The TV cameraman, 38, was never charged with any crime, nor was he put on trial; his testimony makes it clear that he was held in three prisons for six-and-a-half years – repeatedly beaten and force-fed – not because he was a suspected "terrorist" but because he refused to become an American spy. From the moment Sami al-Haj arrived at Guantanamo, flown there from the brutal US prison camp at Kandahar, his captors demanded that he work for them. The cruelty visited upon him – constantly interrupted by American admissions of his innocence – seemed designed to turnal-Haj into a US intelligence "asset". More...
Did you hear about the Cock, the Hen and the Fox?
Stephen Crane of Elmhurst filed the lawsuit in Will County Circuit Court against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet and Christopher Floss, a former priest at the Elmhurst Visitation Parish.
The suit seeks damages relating to his divorce and the breakup of the family. Crane accuses Floss of professional negligence, infliction of emotional distress and alienation of affection. The church is charged with negligent supervision and retention of the priest.
According to the suit, Stephen and Maureen Crane sought marriage counseling from Floss in the spring of 2006 at the church rectory. But in October 2006, at Floss' suggestion, Maureen Crane began individual counseling with Floss, both at the church and in the family home, the suit claims.
Those sessions occurred almost daily, and Floss also began E-mailing Maureen Crane regularly, the suit claims.
In December 2006, the church choir arranged a pilgrimage to Rome, and Floss advised the couple to take the trip, where he would renew their marriage vows, the suit claims. However, while in Rome in January 2007, Maureen Crane asked her husband for a divorce. More...
One dude, two guitars, and all for Elise...
Un mec, deux guitares et tout pour Elise...
Sleeping in tents and in cars, welcome to the American Nightmare...
Of course there's a hefty price tag: nestled between the gentle Santa Ynez mountains and the inviting Pacific Ocean are multi-million dollar homes.
But in this sun-washed haven of wealth, many live far from the American dream.
In a car park across the street from luxury mansions, the evening brings a strange sight.
A few cars arrive and take up spaces in different corners. In each car, a woman, perhaps a few pets, bags of possessions and bedding.
Across the street from homes with bedrooms to spare, these are Santa Barbara's car sleepers.
Homeless within the last year, they are a direct consequence of America's housing market collapse. More...
Burma: one year ago, the Safrron Revolution...
They pledged to "wipe the military dictatorship from the land of Burma", and as the days went by increasing numbers of civilians joined their cause.
Hope began to flicker that the repressive military regime, which had been in power for more than 40 years, would finally be overthrown.
Then, on 26 September, the military's patience ran out. It launched a brutal crackdown, shooting and beating the protesters into submission.
By the end of 27 September at least 30 people were dead and thousands of monks were imprisoned or fled the country. The dream of a revolution was over. More...
Here's the evidence that aliens exist...
Voici la preuve que les extraterrestres existent…
Le porno s'en va-t-en guerre...
Après les auteurs, compositeurs, interprètes, producteurs, réalisateurs du monde de la musique et du septième art, c'est un monde dont on parle moins qui rattrape son retard, voire qui dépasse ses homologues en terme de lutte contre le piratage: le porno!
Allons bon, que se passe-t-il cette fois ?
Selon les Echos du Net, le méga éditeur de porno allemand Magma Film a obtenu du Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris une ordonnance obligeant les Fournisseurs d'Accès Internet Français à fournir sous les 72 heures les données d'identification de plusieurs centaines d'internautes suspectés de piratage d'"oeuvres" couvertes par le droit d'auteur. Suite...
France: Scientology vs the State --- heads I win tails you lose...
The Church of Scientology faces trial on deletion fraud charges in Paris, with the possibility that the organization, which claims around 5,000 active members in France in addition to a bevy of Hollywood celebrities such as Tom Cruise, could be banned in France if it loses.
While it enjoys an active presence in the U.S. -- it has been recognized as a religious organization by the I.R.S. since 1993 -- Scientology has faced strong opposition from French authorities.
France has refused to acknowledge Scientology as a religion, and Miviludes, the French government agency in charge of protecting its citizens from sectarian manipulations, has warned French citizens against participating.
"Scientology is a dangerous movement," Milivudes president Jean-Michel Roulet told ABCNews.com. "It puts pressure on its victims, it tries to intimidate them and blackmails them."
Friday, September 26, 2008
Paul McCartney in Israel: Give peace a chance...
After a 43-year wait, Paul McCartney performed his first concert in Israel on Thursday, kicking it off with the familiar Beatles' song "Hello, Goodbye" to the joy of tens of thousands of cheering fans.
McCartney billed the concert "Friendship First," saying he is on a mission of peace for Israel and the Palestinians.
Singing "Give Peace a Chance," he stopped and let the audience sing the chorus alone. He told his fans, "Here tonight you sang it, you want it." He dedicated the song to his fellow Beatle, John Lennon, who was killed in New York in 1980.
Fireworks lit the sky as he sang "Live and Let Die." More...
Japan: 86-year old Buddhist nun writes a cell-phone novel!!! Wow!
Japan's best-known Buddhist nun is reaching out to a new audience by writing a mobile phone novel at the age of 86.
Jakucho Setouchi, a prolific writer and translator of 11th century epic romance "The Tale of Genji," is latching on to a publishing revolution -- short works of fiction distributed piecemeal by cellphone often become best-sellers in book form.
"At this age, there are few things that interest me. But it was the first time I had written a cellphone novel, and it was exciting," Setouchi was quoted by a local newspaper as saying.
The story, entitled "Tomorrow's Rainbow," is about a high-school girl who is deeply hurt by her parents' divorce, but finds the love of her life in a boy named Hikaru. More...
Bailout backlash: Americans are waking up...
Five Surprising Things That Happened on Thursday:
Protests on Wall Street ... White House pow-wow flops ... Bailout plan implodes ... Obama will attend debate ... McCain's suspended campaign stunt.
Even news junkies had a hard time keeping up with a flurry of events on September 25 on Wall Street, Washington and the presidential campaigns. Here's a round-up of what happened: Full story...
OMG! Here comes the punk rock turtle!!!
Story and more pictures here...
Josef Fritzl returns to his infamous cellar...
Mr Fritzl was taken there under heavy police guard on Thursday to give investigators a tour of the cellar.
Officials say the visit is to help see if the cell can be opened from outside.
Mr Fritzl is accused of keeping his daughter for 24 years in a cellar he built, sexually abusing her and fathering seven children with her.
Lawyers for Mr Fritzl insist that an electronic timer would have unlocked the door in time for the occupants to free themselves if anything had happened to him, but investigators think the door could have been sealed off with metal bars.
Prosecutors say he has confessed to keeping his daughter Elisabeth captive in a cell at his home.
- Fritzl-like case in Poland: man accused of raping his daughter and holding her captive for 6 years...
- Poland to castrate sex offenders...
- Amstetten: Elisabeth Fritzl tells her mother to get out...
- Amstetten: police involved in the Fritzl case traumatised and in need of counselling...
- Josef Fritzl, the monster of Amstetten, living it up in Thailand while his daughter Elisabeth...
Sometimes you may have to push your car but ... push your plane???
Anyone who has ever used budget airlines know only too well how uncomfortable it can be: long queues, cramped seats and every tiny extra costs you.
But at least they are never told to get out and help push their plane.
That is exactly what happened to a group of passengers in China were after their jet broke down just after landing.
The CRJ7 plane, which had just flown some 500 miles from Guilin in the south of the country with 69 passengers and seven crew members on board, conked out before it could taxi to the arrivals terminal at Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province. More...
Zimbabwe: children eating toxic roots, rats...
Save the Children said the most vulnerable faced starvation unless they get food aid in the next couple of weeks.
"The rising malnutrition and the rise in diseases are going to mean that children will die and we have to act very fast," said Sarah Jacobs, a spokeswoman for the relief group.
The United Nations had said previously that more than 5 million people in Zimbabwe would need food aid by early next year after a poor harvest compounded by economic turmoil.
Jacobs said many people in the Zambezi Valley, the poorest and driest area, were now surviving on a vile-tasting, fibrous root called makuri.
"It's got no nutritional value whatsoever. It tastes disgusting and it also has a parasite which attaches to it which is toxic," said Jacobs, who has just returned from the region.
"This is all they have to eat. You see babies eating it and toddlers eating it, and it's not digestible. It creates terrible stomach pains."
People were eating anything to survive, she said. She had come across one child who had died after eating a poisonous root and young children eating tiny rats they caught in their huts. More...
- As Zimbabweans suffer under ridiculous inflationary levels, Mugabe gives Olympic medalist US$100,000!!!
- Indian minister urges poor to eat rats to combat food prices!!!
- Cambodia: As prices go up, rat meat hits the menu...
- Why are they eating mud in Haiti?
- What a waste... my family is throwing away £1,800 worth of food a year...
Fusion Man Yves Rossy flies across the Channel!!! Wow!
Yves Rossy landed safely after the 22-mile (35.4 km) flight from Calais to Dover, which had been twice postponed this week because of bad weather.
The former military pilot took less than 10 minutes to complete the crossing and parachute to the ground.
The 49-year-old flew on a plane to more than 8,200ft (2,500m), ignited jets on a wing on his back, and jumped out. Source + video...
China faked rocket launch story!!!
On Thursday morning, Xinhua posted a story on its website saying the Shenzhou capsule had been successfully tracked flying over the Pacific Ocean even though the rocket and its three astronauts had not yet been launched.
The article, dated September 27, described the rocket in flight, complete with a sharply detailed dialogue between the three astronauts.
Excerpts are below: More...
Poland to castrate sex offenders...
Although the plan has drawn overwhelming public support -- 84pc of Poles approve, according to a survey conducted for 'Dziennik' newspaper -- it has also sparked criticism from liberal politicians and doctors who argue that forced castration violates fundamental human rights and debases the medical profession.
"I don't think you can call such individuals -- such creatures -- human beings," said Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, in an emotional outburst after the incest case came to light. "Therefore I don't think you can talk about human rights in such a case."
A 45-year-old man was arrested in Poland a fortnight ago after being accused of fathering two children by his young daughter; the Polish press compared it with the case of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian who kept his daughter prisoner for two decades, abusing her and creating a secret family. More...
Wall Street bail-out protest...
See Wall Street images here...
Orléans: le maire porte plainte contre un blogueur...
Le blogueur Fansolo est accusé de diffamation pour avoir utilisé l'identité, les photos et l'image du maire d'Orléans sans son accord.
A la demande de Serge Grouard, maire d'Orléans, qui, d'après les échos qu'on en a, ne saurait plus bien s'il lance les poursuites uniquement en son nom propre, ou aussi en tant que maire d'Orléans. "Il y a eu utilisation frauduleuse de mon identité et de mes photos pour me discréditer", a déclaré l'élu, repris dans le Figaro. "C'est à l'évidence de la manipulation, qui plus est dans une période électorale. Il y a volonté de nuire et l'anonymat renforce encore la gravité des faits".
Le juge aura à se prononcer sur le fameux blog "Les amis de Serge Grouard" (inaccessible aujourd'hui), responsable de fuites urinaires chez quelques lecteurs âgés, et de crises de fou-rire chez les plus jeunes. Personne n'avait pris ce blogicule (22 articles seulement!) au sérieux; personne, sauf Serge Grouard. Suite...
Is it possible to confuse a bear's claw with a child's foot?
Police in Russellville spent two days searching surrounding wooded areas for a small child after a family dog brought the foot to its home late Saturday.
Chief Chris Hargett says the structure of the bear's foot was close enough to a human's to fool an orthopedic surgeon who examined it. But forensic tests later found its origin.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Very hot sex bomb doing ninja kicks!!! Enjoy!
WTF! Women going in for designer vaginas???
Professor Linda Cardozo, of King's College Hospital, London, says little evidence exists to advise women on the safety or effectiveness of procedures.
These include operations to make the external appearance more "attractive" and reshaping the vagina to counter laxity after childbirth, for example.
She discussed the issues at a medical meeting in Montreal, Canada. More...
Cliif Richard and the Shadows to regroup for one last tour?
Sir Cliff Richard has revealed he is set to reunite with The Shadows for one final world tour.
The 67-year-old said that he had been in discussion with the band - Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett - for some time and was hopeful plans would come together in the next two years.
He said: 'We have been talking about it for quite a while. It is not confirmed but it is looking pretty good.
'It is almost certainly going to be the last time we will all perform together. We just wanted to get together and just do one last goodbye for all the fans.'
Sir Cliff made his name in the 1950s performing with The Shadows. The band enjoyed success with hits such as Move It, Summer Holiday and The Young Ones but split in 1968.
He built up his solo career but reunited with The Shadows for a string of concerts in 1978, 1984 and 1990. More...