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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sea Shepherd 'rammed' by Japanese ship


ABC News
February 20, 2013

Anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd claims two of its boats have been rammed by a Japanese ship in Australian Antarctic waters.

Activists say the attacks happened after they were ordered to leave the area by one of the boats in the Japanese whaling fleet.

They say the factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, repeatedly rammed the Steve Irwin and then the Bob Barker, pushing it into a Korean re-fuelling boat.

Sea Shepherd says "concussion grenades" have also been thrown at their activists.

The group's director, Doctor Bob Brown, says he has alerted authorities and wants immediate action against what he calls "multiple breaches of international law".

"I have informed the Government," he told ABC24. "Theses are Australian territorial waters and it is time for the Government to reassert itself and send naval vessels.

"This is the worse incident we've seen since the sinking of one of our vessels.

"It's extraordinarily dangerous and a direct break of the law. The escort vessel hurling grenades is labelled 'Government of Japan'.


Read more...

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Switzerland's ONLY wild bear is shot

  

Switzerland's ONLY wild bear is shot


Game over
Switzerland's only wild bear is shot


Feb 20, 2013 - 14:35
The notorious brown bear known as M13 has been killed. He was shot in the early hours of Tuesday, after it proved impossible to keep him away from human settlements, the Federal Office for the Environment announced on Wednesday.

M13 was the only bear known to have been living in Switzerland. “Both in the autumn and now after waking from his winter sleep, the bear kept looking for food in villages, had followed people in broad daylight and – despite repeated measures to scare him off – showed absolutely no fear of humans,” said a statement from the office. “He was classified as a risk to human safety. Under Switzerland’s ‘bear plan’ it became inevitable that he would be shot.” M13 apparently woke up from his winter sleep about ten days ago. At the weekend he followed two hikers into a village in Val Poschiavo in the south eastern canton of Graubünden, then walked along the village street to the main road. A driver told the German-language tabloid Blick that if he hadn’t braked he would have run the animal over. “When the bear stood in front of our car he bared his teeth and growled,” he said. The bear had been fitted with a transmitter in October 2011, which he lost when hit by a train in spring 2012. Another transmitter was fitted in June 2012, and he had been kept under close watch. In the past, the three-year old bear had roamed between Switzerland, Italy and Austria, but had been seen frequently in Val Poschiavo towards the end of 2012. Last October he had entered several residential areas, and in November even broke into a holiday home and eaten food stored there. His behaviour led the environment office to classify him as a “problem bear”.According to authorities in Graubünden, local officials had tried numerous times to ward off M13 with rubber bullets and other non-deadly measures to encourage him to turn away from populated areas. However, they believe he formed curious habits early on that could not be broken, as demonstrated by his run-in with a train and by his numerous sightings near towns and villages.



Conflicting opinions

The killing of M13 was not a surprise. The local online newspaper for the Poschiavo region, Il Grigione Italiano, reporting on his escapades at the weekend, headed its article: ‘Are we just waiting for a tragedy?’ and called for the bear to be shot. The Graubünden cantonal hunting office had said on Monday that discussions were underway between the canton and the federal authorities about the bear’s behaviour and confirmed to swissinfo.ch that M13 had definitely been a problem bear for the office. However, the local council in Poschiavo had merely called for the bear to be removed to a less populated region, such as one of the neighbouring national parks, the website of Romansch radio and television reported on Tuesday. The WWF issued a statement saying that it was “deeply disappointed” by the fact that the bear had been killed. “It is clear that the shooting came too soon – it would have been much better to have stepped up and continued with the deterrent measures,” said Joanna Schönenberger, bear expert at the nature protection organisation. The organisation Swiss Animal Protection also condemned the killing, describing it as "the easy way out". "Everything points to the fact that the authorities did not apply the Swiss bear plan consistently in Poschiavo," it said in a statement. Initial feedback on Swiss newspaper websites was overwhelmingly hostile to the shooting.
More bears expected

At a press conference following the bear's shooting, Graubünden authorities and the environment ministry said they expect more animals from the bear population of about 40 located near Trentino, Italy will enter Switzerland in the future. M13 was part of the Trentino bear population. In order to prevent future Swiss bears from suffering M13's fate, authorities expressed the need for preventative measures in areas frequented by bears, like electric fences around beehives and more protection for animal herds. In addition, residents of bear-prone communities must secure their garbage containers and adjust the way they dispose of organic materials so as not to attract animals to the area.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

*****

I'd like to congratulate the Swiss on a clear victory over a single brown bear.  Nazi Germany on a rampage throughout Europe you do nothing.  The only bear in your nation does what bears do (and yeah, they also hunt and kill things to eat) and seeks easy food you act by killing it.  Who would have wasted their time trapping it anyways?  Disgusting.  Maybe if M13 was banking some gold obtained by the Holocaust it would still be around.

*****

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Days after bluefin tuna sells for £1m conservationists warn species is dying out


Monday, February 18, 2013

Having sex with donkeys is tradition in Colombia

While I continue my break from the rampant bullshit in the world (and am bored and sleepy at work), I give you more VICE "goodness":


Next time you pour yourself a cup of Jose you can think about the donkey that the guy that picked your beans (and cocoa) raped while he took a break.

The human race really does come in all sorts of shades of fugly.  These people are among the most archaic and barbaric fucks in the western hemisphere.  VICE intended the video as entertainment; I intend my post to inflict shame on the third-world toilet known as Colombia.

*****

More:

Meet Issei Sagawa - a cannibal and murder, who spent nearly no time in prison

Beautiful Noise - Documentary needs YOUR help

Doctor shocked by rape victim's injuries

Meet Issei Sagawa - a cannibal and murderer, who spent nearly no time in prison


[VICE]  Issei Sagawa murdered an innocent woman and spent three days eating her flesh. Due to loopholes in the law, Issei is a free man to this day.

On the afternoon of June 13, 1981, a Japanese man named Issei Sagawa walked to the Bois de Boulogne, a park on the outskirts of Paris, carrying two suitcases. The contents of those suitcases, to the lament of a nearby jogger, was the dismembered body of a fellow student -- a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt, whom Sagawa had shot three days prior and had spent the days since eating various parts of her body.

He was soon arrested. According to reports, Issei uttered, "I killed her to eat her flesh," when they raided his home, whereupon they found bits of Renne still in his fridge.

Sagawa was declared insane and unfit for trial and was institutionalized in Paris. His incarceration was to be short, however, as the French public soon grew weary of their hard-earned francs going to support this evil woman-eater, and Issei was promptly deported. Herein followed a bizarre and seemingly too convenient set of legal loopholes and psychiatric reports that led doctors in Japan declaring him "sane, but evil."

On August 12, 1986, Sagawa checked himself out of Tokyo's Matsuzawa Psychiatric hospital, and has been a free man ever since.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Beautiful Noise - Documentary needs YOUR help


BEAUTIFUL NOISE is an in-depth exploration of a music movement in the late 20th century, a fascinating period when some innovative musicians mixed guitar noise into conventional pop song structures while maintaining a philosophy of letting the music speak for itself.
Although many of the people interviewed are notoriously press shy they have opened up about their music and experiences from over 20 years ago; how they defied the rules and became sonic innovators that have inspired so many.
Currently the documentary is in the final stages for worldwide release, and we need your help to raise the $75,000 to pay for limited run licensing and finishing costs to distribute in Film Festivals and on DVD/Blu-Ray.
This documentary will finally be released only if the fans of this music believe in this project and contribute.
  • INTERVIEWS INCLUDE: Kevin Shields, Jim Reid, Robin Guthrie, Bobby Gillespie, Douglas Hart, Colm O’Ciosoig, Debbie Googe, Simon Raymonde, Alan Moulder, Ivo Watts-Russell, Alan McGee, Sonic Boom
  • FEATURING BAND MEMBERS OF: Ride, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Lush, Curve, Swervedriver, Medicine, Pale Saints, Seefeel, AR Kane, Telescopes, Boo Radleys, Cranes, Catherine Wheel, Flying Saucer Attack
  • WITH: Wayne Coyne, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan and Robert Smith
  • Score by Brad Laner (Medicine)
  • VFX by John Nugent (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Matrix)
  • Motion Graphics by Angus Cameron (Music Video Director)
  • Graphic design by Timothy O'Donnell (4AD)
  • Featuring Tour Projections, Bootlegs and previously unseen personal videos.
  • Performance Videos (and some interviews) with current bands: Sigur Ros, M83, Autolux, Serena Maneesh, Ulrich Schnauss, A Place To Bury Strangers, Grouper, Tim Hecker, Belong among others. 


This is your chance to be a part of this definitive documentary.


*****

Some of these bands, like Ride for example, permeated my soul.  I definitely want to see this come to fruition.  

*****

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Doctor shocked by rape victim's injuries

News 24
February 7, 2013

Cape Town - A Bredasdorp doctor has revealed gruesome details of the injuries a 17-year-old gang-rape victim suffered at the hand of her attackers, saying people had to know how cruel her assailants were.

The doctor said such people should not be left unpunished, reported Die Burger.

The attackers apparently slashed open Anene Booysen's lower body and ripped out her intestines.

The doctor had first-hand knowledge of the emergency operation performed on Booysen, saying someone had put their hands inside her body and pulled out her intestines.

“She lost a large part of her intestines. That is also why she didn’t survive,” said the doctor, who did not want to be identified.

Police apparently found Booysen’s intestines lying around her. They were covered in sand.

Booysen identified one of her attackers before dying in hospital.

The man, Jonathan Quinton Davids, 22, was arrested shortly afterwards. He apparently grew up with Booysen in the same street and had often been at her home. The Cape Times identified him as Booysen's ex-boyfriend. Another three suspects have reportedly been questioned.

Meanwhile, the brutal murder has left the Bredasdorp community stunned.

"It’s a big shock to the community that something so brutal can happen in a small town where our children go out walk around in the evenings,” Bredasdorp resident Zeldie Jooste told Eyewitness News.

Western Cape social development MEC Albert Fritz also said he was appalled by the attack, and urged teenagers to be cautious when venturing out at night, Eyewitness News reported.

"We want to call on our young men and women to please ensure they don’t get into situations at 03:00 in the morning, where they place themselves in danger. We don’t mean to say to people they can’t walk around at 03:00 but these are very different and difficult times. Please ensure that you are safe and go with people you can trust, who won’t hurt you.”

*****

Evolution must be true.  Only something that is 98% chimpanzee could do such a thing.  Call them humanzees.

*****

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Anti-snow chemicals used in Moscow take 1.3bn years to dissolve

More evidence to the stupidity of human beings here.

RT
February 7, 2013

Toxic and even radioactive elements have been found in de-icing substances used for clearing Moscow streets from snow, according to data gathered by a group of activists. City authorities deny the allegations.

­De-icing chemicals have never enjoyed public affection in Russia. They are mostly associated with damaged footwear and burned pet paws. However, annoyance turned to anger after community group ‘For Safety on Russian Roads’ announced the results of its recent investigation.

"I can, of course, emotionally say that yes, we are being poisoned by radiation and scattered with something horrible. But if we put emotions aside, we have now gathered samples of chemicals from sidewalks and found out that substances prohibited years ago are being used once again. These include Radionuclides,” says Roman Kornilov of For Safety on Russian Roads, as cited by Kommersant daily.

The group specifies that Moscow roads are being de-iced with yellow halite and a substance known by the abbreviation SBG.  Yellow halite is described as “exceptionally harmful for people and nature.” SBG is an electrolyte slime of Solikamsk Magnesium Works, i.e. industrial waste which contains toxic elements. These include K-40 (kalium-40), which takes 1.3 billion years to disintegrate and belongs to materials of third-class radioactive danger. It was prohibited for use in Moscow in 2006.


The Russian internet has exploded with indignant comments: “The scariest thing is that little children inhale evaporations from those chemicals!!!”;“I’m not an expert in chemistry, but as the man in the street I can say that this year they scattered something unreal in Moscow… My leather shoes became completely ramshackle… P.S. I pity pets.”

Not everyone joined in the chorus of the panic-stricken, though.

“I became interested in what halite was and started searching Wikipedia… Halite, commonly known as rock salt, is the mineral form of sodium chloride (NaCl).” famous Russian blogger, Maksim Kononenko wrote.

It may be mere salt, however online shops selling de-icing substances specify that halite is not recommended for use in Moscow.

City authorities deny all allegations of harmful substances being used to remove snow from the streets.

“All chemicals used in Moscow went through state and environmental examination and were approved, so the accusations sound strange. Moreover, Moscow is not a city for experiments,” said a Moscow government official cited by RIA Novosti.


Moscow Duma MP Kirill Shchitov, however, decided to double-check and sent out inquiries to four institutions: the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office, Consumer Protection Agency and the city government’s Departments of Environmental Protection and of Housing and Public Utilities.

Scientists meanwhile say the point is not only the quality, but also the quantity of substances.

“Today we are allowed to use three times more salt than in previous years… The effect of salts on city utilities has grown and it’s going to instigate risks to industries and nature,” says Professor Dmitry Khomyakov, deputy head of the Agroinformatics Department at Moscow State University.

One recent example of how de-icing substances harm utilities is the February 1 blackouts in St. Petersburg, when 20,000 people were left without electricity. Lenenergo, the power company, laid the blame on the chemicals: “The reason for power grids breakdown was diffusion of chemicals over the city roads,” says the company’s press release.

Moscow officials say they simply can’t do without chemical agents, taking into account that this week saw record-breaking snowfalls – the heaviest in the Russian capital since the beginning of the century. [Two words - Global Warming]

*****

No amount of de-icing, even with chemicals that last over a billion years, will make Russian roads safe...

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Beef Lasagne Contained Up To 100% Horsemeat


BBC News UK
February 7, 2013

The meat of some beef lasagne products recalled by Findus earlier this week was 100% horsemeat, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said.

On Monday Findus withdrew from retailers its beef lasagne in 320g, 360g and 500g sizes as a precaution.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the findings were "completely unacceptable", but Findus said it did not believe it was a food safety issue.

The FSA said companies would now be required to test their beef products.

"In order to get to the bottom of this, we're going to be requiring every company to test every product line," Catherine Brown, the FSA's chief executive, told the BBC.

"If we find any other cases, we will pursue our investigations vigorously until we find out what's happened and put a stop to it."

Ms Brown said it was "highly likely" that criminal activity was to blame for horsemeat being found in some meals.
'Cannot be tolerated'

The FSA said Findus had tested 18 of its beef lasagne products and found 11 meals containing between 60% and 100% horsemeat.

People have been warned not to eat the products, which were made for Findus by French food supplier Comigel.

The FSA said: "We have no evidence to suggest that this is a food safety risk. However, the FSA has ordered Findus to test the lasagne for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, or 'bute'.

"Animals treated with phenylbutazone are not allowed to enter the food chain as [the drug] may pose a risk to human health.

"The Findus beef lasagne was distributed to the main UK supermarkets and smaller convenience stores. Findus has already begun a full recall of these products.

"People who have bought any Findus beef lasagne products are advised not to eat them and return them to the shop they bought them from."

Mr Paterson said the presence of unauthorised ingredients "cannot be tolerated".

"The responsibility for the safety and authenticity of food lies with those who produce it, and who sell or provide it to the final consumer. I know that food producers, retailers and caterers are as concerned as we are at the course of recent events," he said.

He said the government was working closely with businesses to "root out any illegal activity" and enforce regulations.

"Consumers can be confident that we will take whatever action we consider necessary if we discover evidence of criminality or negligence," he added.

Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said the latest revelations raised questions about the extent of the scandal.

"This is no longer just a food safety issue but possibly a criminal trade," she said.

Findus said the product was manufactured by a third party supplier and not by Findus. The frozen food company said all its other products had been tested and were not affected.

Findus said in a statement: "We understand this is a very sensitive subject for consumers and we would like to reassure you we have reacted immediately. We do not believe this to be a food safety issue.

"We are confident that we have fully resolved this supply chain issue.

"We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused."
National survey

This week supermarket chains Aldi and Tesco, as well as Findus UK, withdrew some beef products from sale after concerns were raised at their French supplier.

Comigel alerted Findus and Aldi that their products "do not conform to specification".

They advised them to remove Findus Beef Lasagne and Aldi's Today's Special Frozen Beef Lasagne and Today's Special Frozen Spaghetti Bolognese.

Tesco also decided to withdraw Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese.

The Tesco product was produced at the same Comigel site but there was no evidence of contamination, the supermarket said.

The wider food contamination controversy arose in mid-January when Irish food inspectors announced they had found horsemeat in some burgers stocked by a number of UK supermarket chains including Tesco, Iceland and Lidl.

Asda has withdrawn products supplied by Newry-based Freeza Meats which was storing meat found to contain a high proportion of horse DNA. Two samples were found to contain 80% horsemeat.

The horsemeat controversy has hit the Irish meat-processing industry, with a number of suppliers on both sides of the border affected.

The FSA has said it will co-ordinate a UK-wide survey of beef products to test for the possible presence of horse or pig DNA.

There will be "additional emphasis on brands at the lower end of the market, particularly for burger-type products", it said.

Twenty-eight local authorities across the UK will take a total of 224 samples, and results are due to be published in April.

The survey "aims to identify and understand factors that may lead to the presence of meat species that are not labelled as an ingredient, so that this can be explained, eliminated or correctly labelled".

*****

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Drone Strikes’ Risks to Get Rare Moment in the Public Eye


Robert F. Worth, Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane
The New York Times
February 5, 2013

SANA, Yemen — Late last August, a 40-year-old cleric named Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber stood up to deliver a speech denouncing Al Qaeda in a village mosque in far eastern Yemen.

It was a brave gesture by a father of seven who commanded great respect in the community, and it did not go unnoticed. Two days later, three members of Al Qaeda came to the mosque in the tiny village of Khashamir after 9 p.m., saying they merely wanted to talk. Mr. Jaber agreed to meet them, bringing his cousin Waleed Abdullah, a police officer, for protection. 

As the five men stood arguing by a cluster of palm trees, a volley of remotely operated American missiles shot down from the night sky and incinerated them all, along with a camel that was tied up nearby. 

The killing of Mr. Jaber, just the kind of leader most crucial to American efforts to eradicate Al Qaeda, was a reminder of the inherent hazards of the quasi-secret campaign of targeted killings that the United States is waging against suspected militants not just in Yemen but also in Pakistan and Somalia. Individual strikes by the Predator and Reaper drones are almost never discussed publicly by Obama administration officials. But the clandestine war will receive a rare moment of public scrutiny on Thursday, when its chief architect, John O. Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser, faces a Senate confirmation hearing as President Obama’s nominee for C.I.A. director. 

From his basement office in the White House, Mr. Brennan has served as the principal coordinator of a “kill list” of Qaeda operatives marked for death, overseeing drone strikes by the military and the C.I.A., and advising Mr. Obama on which strikes he should approve. 

“He’s probably had more power and influence than anyone in a comparable position in the last 20 years,” said Daniel Benjamin, who recently stepped down as the State Department’s top counterterrorism official and now teaches at Dartmouth. “He’s had enormous sway over the intelligence community. He’s had a profound impact on how the military does counterterrorism.” 

Read more...

*****

Never mind the fact that we now use attack helicopters, jets, and missiles instead of a rifle and bullet.  Never mind the fact that some idiot sitting in a cargo container in Nevada, flying a drone, often has to guess on whether or not he really sees a threat.  Never mind the fact that collateral damage is simply a nuisance, an acceptable byproduct (not acceptable to me... clearly that doesn't matter).

*****

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Catholic Church enslaved 30,000 Irish women as forced unpaid labor in Magdalene Laundries until 1996


Myrddin and John Aravosis
America Blog
February 6, 2013

What a horrific story.  The Irish Prime Minister gave a partial apology today for the government’s role in a 74-year scandal in which, a new official government report says, over 10,000 women were forced to work without pay at commercial laundries called Magdalene Laundries, operated by the Catholic Church for “crimes” as small as not paying a train ticket.

Wikipedia notes that the estimate of the number of women who were used as forced slave labor by the Catholic Church in Ireland alone goes as high as 30,000 over the entire time the Magdalene laundries were in operation.

The last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996.

The women were locked in and not permitted to leave.  And if they tried to get away, the cops would catch them and bring them back. They were quite literally Catholic slave labor working for the government and even Guinness, which would pay the laundries for the women’s slave labor.
Half of the girls enslaved in these Catholic Church prisons were under the age of 23.  The youngest entrant was 9 years old.

Read more...

*****

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PM's daughter blows whistle on 54 nations that helped US detention programme


Chidanand Rajghatta
The Times of India
February, 6, 2013

It does not matter if it is Republican President George Bush or Democratic President Barack Obama in the White House; Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's daughter Amrit Singh's canvassing for human rights and campaign against secret rendition and torture cuts across party lines — and across countries.

In an exhaustive 214-page report released Tuesday, Singh, currently a senior legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative, has exposed 54 countries that helped facilitate the Central Intelligence Agency's secret detention, rendition, and interrogation programme in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The report draws a stark picture of scores of people, both hardcore al-Qaida types and wayfarers, who were caught in the massive and foggy US counterterrorism drive worldwide after 9/11.


Singh has also named 136 people who were detained and transferred by the CIA and its allied or cooperating intelligence outfits, the first time such an extensive and detailed list has been compiled. She describes how and where they were apprehended, transferred, and interrogated. The list, which includes many Pakistanis, Aafia Siddiqui among them, is the largest one compiled to date, and it reveals how detainees were moved around the world without due process, often to countries which ran secret prisons and torture cells.

The 54 countries which were co-opted in the sweeping CIA drive against terrorism include the usual suspects such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria and Libya which have poor or non-existent legal systems, judicial oversight, and human rights. But it also includes western countries such as Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Spain, and Italy, some of which are fierce advocates of civil liberties and human rights.

India is not among the countries named in the report. The list of 136 detainees does not include any Indians, nor were any apprehended in India. A majority of them were detained in Pakistan in raids and many of them are Pakistanis, confirming the country's reputation as a terrorist haven.

Singh, who is the youngest of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's three daughters, was a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberty Union's Immigrants' Rights Project before she joined the National Security and Counterterrorism program at the Open Society Justice Initiative last year. Some of her human rights work is chronicled in a book Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond, that she has co-authored. She is married to Barton Beebe, a professor of law at New York University.

She has been a persistent critic of U.S human rights violations, particular during the Bush years, but she has not eased off during the Obama White House either, even as the Democratic President has reneged on some of his commitments. Indeed, the latest report is sharply critical of Obama and his administration.

"The time has come for the United States and its partner governments to admit to the truth of their involvement in secret detention and extraordinary rendition, repudiate these practices, and conduct effective investigations directed at holding officials accountable," Singh writes in her conclusion.  


*****

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Nine-Year-Old Mexican Girl Gives Birth


In other news from that jewel south of the American border, a nine-year-old Mexican girl gave birth to a girl on January 27, 2013.  The father is reported to be a seventeen-year-old.  Here is the real astonishing part; it is said that the girl, who is one of ELEVEN children, and the seventeen-year-old, were dating... and nobody, I surmise, thought that was odd.

Here is a few excerpts from a piece at ABC:

According to Corona, the 17-year-old and Dafne were dating but the young girl is unwilling to release any further information regarding the association between the two.

“She did not realize that she was pregnant until the seventh month,” said Corona. Her boyfriend suggested Dafne move in with him and to raise the child together but when the young mother refused, her boyfriend “decided to leave town two months ago,” says Corona.

State authorities are searching for the father of the child to acquire his own account of what occurred between the two. The prosecutor’s office in the state of Jalisco said they are willing to request cooperation from neighboring state authorities if necessary.

Corona says the state prosecutor is “still open to the possibility of rape or child sex abuse.”

Dafne, who is one of 11 children, lives in Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos, a poverty-stricken neighborhood 25 miles south of Guadalajara.  “Her parents work all day and were not watching after her,” says Corona, “and therefore didn’t realize what was about to happen.”

Why is it that poor people love to churn out kids???  And then, people like this think that they can run to the U.S. to lead a better life; no wonder why Mexico has never, and will never, change for the better.


*****

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Monday, February 4, 2013

The Most Important Big Cat Bill Ever - Please Help!



Congress was too caught up in the fiscal cliff to hear these bills in 2012, so please ask your Senators & Representatives to Reintroduce and CoSponsor The Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act.

On February 29, 2012, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4122, to prohibit the private possession and breeding of big cats.  Then on Sept 13, 2012, Sen. John Kerry (D, MA), Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I, CT), Sen. Bernard Sanders (I, VT) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D, CT) introduced S 3547, the companion bill to prohibit the private possession and breeding of big cats.  The bill will insure that lions, tigers and other dangerous big cats – which are kept as pets and exploited in roadside zoos and traveling exhibits – do not threaten public safety, diminish the global big cat conservation efforts, or end up living in deplorable conditions where they can be subject to mistreatment and cruelty.



The debate over private ownership of big cats garnered national attention last October when the owner of a backyard menagerie in Zanesville, Ohio, opened the cages of his tigers, leopards, lions, wolves, bears and monkeys before committing suicide. Local police, who were neither trained nor properly equipped to deal with a situation of that magnitude, were forced to shoot and kill nearly 50 animals—38 of them big cats—before they could enter populated areas.The bill would make it illegal to possess any big cat except at accredited zoos and wildlife sanctuaries where they can be properly cared for and sheltered, and would only allow breeding at accredited zoos, along with some research or educational institutions.

Current owners would be allowed to keep the cats they currently have provided they register their cats with USDA to keep them from being slaughtered to sell their parts (see below), but they would not be allowed to acquire or breed more.  Violators of the law could have their animals confiscated along with any vehicles or equipment used to aid in their activity, and could face stiff penalties including fines up to $20,000 and up to five years in jail.

Public Safety.

It is estimated that there are 10,000 to 20,000 big cats currently held in private ownership in the U.S., although the exact number remains a mystery. In the past 21 years, U.S. incidents involving captive big cats—including tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs and lion/tiger hybrids—have resulted in the deaths of 20 humans, 246 maulings, 254 escapes, 143 big cats deaths and 131 confiscations.

Illegal trade in big cat parts and impact on conservation in the wild.

Despite the claims of breeders who profit from selling these animals, the rampant breeding of big cats in private hands to exploit in exhibits or inappropriately keep as pets does absolutely nothing to further conservation in the wild.  In fact, the opposite is true. In the case of tigers, of the estimated 5000 in this country, only about 250 are pure bred subspecies and those are housed in AZA accredited zoos.  All of the rest are “generic,” i.e. cross bred between two or more subspecies, and have no conservation value whatsoever.  Undercover operations by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service over the last decade and as recently as January 2012 have demonstrated that there is an illegal trade in big cat parts, including skins and bones.  According to the International Tiger Coalition, the more these parts are supplied from the captive big cat population, the more the market for these parts grows, and the more demand grows for the “real” or premium product, i.e. parts from big cats poached from the wild.

Deplorable conditions are the rule, not the exception.

In the case of big cats owned as pets, i.e. not exhibited to the public, there is no federal regulation governing how they are kept. State laws vary from no restrictions, to simply requiring registration, to some states banning ownership as pets. But, the bans are often ineffective because the states that ban ownership as pets often do so by exempting those who hold USDA licenses as commercial exhibitors.  According to a 2010 audit of USDA by OIG, 70% of private owners with four or less cats were actually pet owners simply using USDA registration to evade the state law. So, individuals buy cute cubs that grow up to be dangerous, unmanageable and expensive to feed. They end up in tiny, barren cages in back yards, abandoned to sanctuaries that are struggling financially to support the steady flow of unwanted cats, or in the illegal trade for their parts.
Cats owned by exhibitors do fall under the regulations promulgated by USDA under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), but they fare no better. The USDA sets minimum standards that allow these cats to spend their entire lives in small, concrete and chain link cages that in effect are prison cells.  And even these minimal standards are totally impractical to enforce.  USDA has about 100 inspectors to police over 2700 exotic animal exhibitors and thousands of other animal facilities.

Horrible facilities are cited year after year and only a few of the very worst are ever shut down.

As a result, the vast majority of big cats live in conditions that any compassionate person would view as cruel and inhumane.S 3547 would avert unnecessary human suffering from deaths and injuries from these inherently dangerous animals, stop the illegal trade in captive animal parts that encourages poaching of the wild population, and end the widespread misery these majestic animals endure in private hands when exploited for exhibition or inappropriately kept as pets.
This bill is supported by Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Big Cat Rescue, Born Free USA, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS, Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), ROAR Foundation and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).


 *****

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Bankrupt, Decaying And Nearly Dead: 24 Facts About The City Of Detroit That Will Shock You


Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
Feb 4, 2013


If you want to know what the future of America is going to be like, just look at the city of Detroit.  Once upon a time it was a symbol of everything that America was doing right, but today it has been transformed into a rotting, decaying, post-apocalyptic hellhole.  Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and in 1960 Detroit had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.  It was the greatest manufacturing city the world had ever seen, and the rest of the globe looked at Detroit with a sense of awe and wonder.  But now the city of Detroit has become a bad joke to the rest of the world.  Unemployment is rampant, 60 percent of the children are living in poverty and the city government is on the verge of bankruptcy.  They say that Detroit is just a matter of “weeks or months” away from running out of cash, and when Detroit does declare bankruptcy it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States.  But don’t look down on Detroit, because the truth is that Detroit is really a metaphor for what is happening to America as a whole.  In the United States today, our manufacturing infrastructure has been gutted, poverty is absolutely exploding and we are rapidly approaching national bankruptcy.  Detroit may have gotten there first, but the rest of the country will follow soon enough.

Back during the boom years, Detroit was known for making great cars.  Today, it is known for scenes of desolation and decay.  It is full of vandalized homes, abandoned schools and empty factories.  The following description of what Detroit looks like at this point is from an article by Barry Yeoman


It’s hard to describe the city’s physical landscape without producing what Detroiters call “ruin porn.” Brick houses with bays and turrets sit windowless or boarded up. Whole blocks, even clusters of blocks, have been bulldozed. Retail strips have been reduced to a dollar store here, a storefront church there, and a whole lot of plywood in between. Not a single chain supermarket remains.



So what caused the downfall of one of the greatest cities on earth?

Well, here is a hint…



Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

When you are a manufacturing area, and you lose half of your manufacturing jobs over the course of a single decade, of course things are going to get really, really bad.

So just how bad have things gotten in Detroit?

The following are 24 facts about the city of Detroit that will shock you…

#1 Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and it was once home to close to 2 million people.  But over the last several decades people have been fleeing in droves.  According to the 2010 census, only 713,000 people now live in Detroit, and city officials admit that the population has probably slipped under 700,000 at this point.

#2 The population of Detroit has declined by about 25 percent over the past decade.  The last time the population of Detroit was this low was all the way back in 1910.

#3 Today, Detroit is only the 18th-largest city in America.  It is now smaller than Austin, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina.

#4 Back in 1960, the city of Detroit had the highest per-capita income in the United States.

#5 Today, the unemployment rate in Detroit is more than 18 percent, which is more than twice as high as the nation as a whole.

#6 According to a report that was just recently released, approximately60 percent of all children in Detroit live in poverty.

#7 Approximately one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles are either vacant or derelict.

#8 The city government of Detroit has closed dozens of schools and has decided to cut off public services to the “heavily blighted areas“.

#9 According to one estimate, there are 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant residential lots in the city of Detroit today.

#10 The median price of a home in Detroit is just $9,000, and there are some areas of Detroit where you can still buy a house for $100.

#11 There are more than 85,000 streetlights in Detroit, but thieves have stripped so much copper wiring out of the lights that more than half of them are not working.

#12 Mayor Bing has announced a plan to reduce the number of streetlights in the city of Detroit to just 46,000.

#13 According to one very shocking report, 47 percent of all people living in the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate at this point..

#14 The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.

#15 There were 377 homicides in Detroit in 2011.  In 2012, that number rose to 411.

#16 Justifiable homicide in Detroit rose by an astounding 79 percentduring 2011.

#17 In one recent year, the rate of self-defense killings in the city of Detroit was 2200% above the national average.

#18 Ten years ago, there were approximately 5,000 police officers in the city of Detroit.  Today, there are only about 2,500 and another 100 are scheduled to be eliminated from the force soon.

#19 Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.

#20 Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.

#21 At one point, 100 bus drivers in Detroit refused to drive their routes because they were afraid of being attacked out on the streets in broad daylight.  The head of the bus drivers union, Henry Gaffney, said that the drivers were literally “scared for their lives“….
“Our drivers are scared, they’re scared for their lives. This has been an ongoing situation about security. I think yesterday kind of just topped it off, when one of my drivers was beat up by some teenagers down in the middle of Rosa Parks and it took the police almost 30 minutes to get there, in downtown Detroit,” said Gaffney.
#22 There have been reports that gangs of young men with AK-47s have been terrorizing gas stations all over Detroit.

#23 Detroit was once known for making some of the greatest cars in the world.  Now, it is known around the world as a dumping ground for the dead
From the street, the two decomposing bodies were nearly invisible, concealed in an overgrown lot alongside worn-out car tires and a moldy sofa. The teenagers had been shot, stripped to their underwear and left on a deserted block.
They were just the latest victims of foul play whose remains went undiscovered for days after being hidden deep inside Detroit’s vast urban wilderness — a crumbling wasteland rarely visited by outsiders and infrequently patrolled by police.
#24 Detroit’s public schools are an absolute nightmare.  The following is from one of my readers that actually attended one of the “best” public schools in Detroit…
The school was a new seven story building just a couple of years old. The bathrooms would often lack toilet paper & soap beyond the second floor (the main floor), the bathroom sinks would often not work. The water fountains on north side of the building on from the third floor & up did not work. The elevators would constantly break down. I even got stuck on the elevator before. I almost tripped down a half a flight of stairs because the elastic seal (it was the metal bar at the front of a treader of I don’t know the name of it.) the stairs was not properly installed.
Students would often have sex on the stairs & throughout the school. Parents actually called the school many times & reported kids having sex on the stairs because all of them had glass windows 270 degrees.
Even over in Europe they write stories about the dramatic decline of Detroit.  For example, the following is how one British reporter describedhis visit to Detroit
Much of Detroit is horribly dangerous for its own residents, who in many cases only stay because they have nowhere else to go. Property crime is double the American average, violent crime triple. The isolated, peeling homes, the flooded roads, the clunky, rusted old cars and the neglected front yards amid trees and groin-high grassland make you think you are in rural Alabama, not in one of the greatest industrial cities that ever existed.
For those that want to read even more about the horrifying downfall of Detroit, there are some amazing charts that graphically show the decline of Detroit right here.

So what is the solution?

How can we fix Detroit?

Well, why don’t we just build a monorail!  Of course that sounds ridiculous, but the federal government has actually committed $25 million to construct “a streetcar line” that nobody really wants and that very few people would probably actually use.  Perhaps they could be excused for wasting so much money on a bad idea if there had not already been 24 failed attempts to develop a successful public transit system in Detroit over the past four decades.

Well, why don’t we just build a bunch of theme parks instead?  After all, tourists would just flock to Detroit, right?

It has been suggested that Detroit would be ideal for an “automotive theme park”, and there is actually one group of investors that wants to turn some of the worst areas of Detroit into a “zombie theme park”.

What will they think of next?

Actually, a much better idea would have been to not allow millions of our good paying manufacturing jobs to be shipped to the other side of the world, but it is too late for that at this point.

But once again, please do not look down on the city of Detroit.  Instead, let the city of Detroit serve as a warning for the rest of us.

The truth is that the entire U.S. economy is in an advanced state of decline…

-The percentage of the civilian labor force in the United States that is employed has been steadily declining every single year since 2006.

-An astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

-Amazingly, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans with either Master’s degrees or Ph.D.s that are enrolled in the food stamp program at this point.

We are a nation that consumes far more wealth than we produce, we are a nation that is constantly bleeding jobs, businesses and wealth, and we are a nation that is going deeper into debt with each passing day.

Yes, Detroit may have gone over the edge into economic oblivion first, but the rest of the nation is steamrolling down the exact same path that Detroit has gone.

Is it too late for us to change direction?

Please feel free to share your thoughts on that question by leaving a comment below…

*****

With the vast majority of American industry having been dismantled and moved offshore, how long can the rest of the nation stave off the same conditions inflicted upon Detroit?  As long as people only look out for #1 we will have opportunists that are self-serving and lack any sort of consideration for the broader consequences of their actions (or lack of).  If a head of a large corporation actually valued his community and those working for him or her, would they then decide to close shop, fire those individuals, and open up the same operation somewhere in the third world (all in order to increase their revenues)?  There is ONE answer to this question, and that answer is a simple and resounding NO.

While some people can't afford a roof over their head or starve others just spent $3000 this last weekend for two tickets to watch grown men in tight pants run around on a field chasing after a ball - if that doesn't sound like Rome in its final days I don't know what does.

*****

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Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky , now UKIP member, is a leading member of the dissident movement of the 1960s and 1970s in Russia - Writer, neurophysiologist, and political activist, he now lives in Cambridge.

*****

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Big Brother to Log Drinking Habits and Waist Size, UK Doctors Forced to Hand Over Confidential Records


Jack Doyle Daily Mail
February 4, 2013


GPs are to be forced to hand over confidential records on all their patients’ drinking habits, waist sizes and illnesses.

The files will be stored in a giant information bank that privacy campaigners say represents the ‘biggest data grab in NHS history’.

They warned the move would end patient confidentiality and hand personal information to third parties.

The data includes weight, cholesterol levels, body mass index, pulse rate, family health history, alcohol consumption and smoking status.

Diagnosis of everything from cancer to heart disease to mental illness would be covered. Family doctors will have to pass on dates of birth, postcodes and NHS numbers.

But Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, said: ‘Under these proposals, medical confidentiality is, in effect, dead and there is currently nobody standing in the way.’ Nick Pickles, of the privacy group Big Brother Watch, said NHS managers would now be in charge of our most confidential information.

Read more...

*****

Do you think the day will ever come when instead of policy playing the part of puppet on behalf of greedy insurance rackets (and yes, sorry, Obamacare is another case of this) we might actually vilify proper, every-day, health threats?  

***** 
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Opportunistic Chinese Businessman Sells Canned Air



Chen Guangbiao, a Chinese businessman, with an estimated worth of $700 million, is obviously either is starved for attention or believes selling empty cans will reverse the poor air quality in Beijing.  He states all money gained will go to charity, but we've heard similar things before.  Currently, the air in China is worse than it has been since the late 1950's, and Chinese are apparently buying up masks and the canned air.  The people that are actually paying for soda-sized cans of air - really, how stupid can you be?!?  I haven't seen anything quite as dumb as a large group of Chinese "drinking" air from aluminum cans in a while... and I see a lot of stupid things in this world.  I think 99.9% of those that call themselves philanthropists are phoney, and I am highly skeptical.  In the end, it doesn't even matter.

Wont someone please tell the Chinese that if they just eat a tigers penis and make wine from its bones they can breath the dirtiest air of all and be fine???  I know, it sounds like it is ass backwards and archaic caveman medicine, but it can save lives (well, unless you're one of 2500 tigers).

You know, in the end, people are responsible for what happens to them.  If these people get fleeced, 99% of the time they have allowed themselves to be fleeced... still if what Chen says of his motives is true, these people aren't going to be helped one bit by inhaling two breaths from an empty aluminum can.  This is kind of like a microcosm of the global warming issue and carbon taxes... money is being made in the name of environmentalism - and the best part is he is selling NOTHING, just empty cans.  

What I am dying to know is this; why is it that human beings are willing to adapt to the most absurd things, be it pollution or a tyrannical government and its policies, versus actually forcing change for the better???

China is the global poster boy illustrating what not to do, in nearly every imaginable manner; industry, environment, animal and human rights... you name it.

*****
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