March 30th, 2011
Please accept my apologies for such a long time without blog updates. I’ve been through a truly crappy Xmas / New Years 2011 season that resulted in the death of my father. As such I’ve not had time to properly manage my updates here. However, I finally did figure out how to update things via Twitter, so kindly follow me there as @rotstan , where you will find my most recent posts (albeit sadly without categorization) and updates going forward. Eventually I hope to figure out how to merge those updates with the blog so everything will be back as it used to be, but for the forseable future it is best if you follow me on Twitter.
Apologies for the inconvenience but deeply grateful for your interest,
December 23rd, 2010
45 people lynched amid Haiti cholera fears:
Angry Haitian mobs have lynched at least 45 people in recent weeks, accusing them of spreading a cholera outbreak that has killed over 2500 people across the country, officials said.
The number included at least 14 suspected sorcerers previously known to have been lynched in the far southwestern region of Grand’Anse as local people feared they were spreading cholera with a magical substance. The area has been largely spared by the outbreak.
“We have counted 40 people dead in Grand’Anse department alone, where people are attacking natural healers they accuse of cholera-linked witchcraft,” said communications ministry official Moise Fritz Evens.
Five other people were killed in similar circumstances elsewhere in the country.
December 20th, 2010
Park visitors met with bodies of entombed deer:
People visiting a UK park in the hope of seeing Christmas reindeer were greeted with a horrific sight — the bodies of several animals which had fallen through the ice and drowned.
The bodies and antlers of at least eight deer and stags could be seen protruding through the frozen lake at a Durham deer park, the Daily Mail reported.
Visitors could also see hoof marks leading to where the deer broke the ice and fell into the freezing lake.
Parents of children who were visiting the park, which promotes itself as an “authentic” place to celebrate Christmas, said they were stunned by the sight.
“My son was distressed and we did not feel comfortable,” said a woman who was visiting with her eight-year-old son.
“It was an awful sight and nothing seems to be done about it.”
December 20th, 2010
Qur’an etched in Saddam Hussein’s blood poses dilemma for Iraq leaders
It was etched in the blood of a dictator in a ghoulish bid for piety.
Over the course of two painstaking years in the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein had sat regularly with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher; the former drawing 27 litres of his blood and the latter using it as a macabre ink to transcribe a Qur’an.
But since the fall of Baghdad, almost eight years ago, it has stayed largely out of sight – locked away behind three vaulted doors.
It is the one part of the ousted tyrant’s legacy that Iraq has simply not known what to do with.
The vault in the vast mosque in Baghdad has remained locked for the past three years, keeping the 114 chapters of the Muslim holy book out of sight – and mind – while those who run Iraq have painstakingly processed the other cultural remnants of 30 years of Saddam and the Ba’ath party.
“What is in here is priceless, worth absolutely millions of dollars,” said Sheikh Ahmed al-Samarrai, head of Iraq’s Sunni Endowment fund, standing near the towering minarets of the west Baghdad mosque that Saddam named “the Mother of All Battles”. Behind him is the infamous Blood Qur’an, written in Saddam’s own blood.
December 17th, 2010
Backing off an arsenic-eating claim:
Amid a flurry of criticism, a NASA-funded team on Thursday backed off the more extravagant, textbook-changing claims they’d made about a bacterium that had allegedly substituted arsenic for phosphorus in its DNA.
The original announcement, made at a NASA news conference Dec. 2, seemed to break a cardinal rule of biology that all organisms need some phosphorus to survive.
NASA researchers claimed to have discovered an exotic organism in California’s Mono Lake that lived instead on arsenic, thus broadening the types of life that may exist in the universe.
The news made headlines worldwide including a New York Times story that ran in The Inquirer on Dec. 3.
On Thursday, the researchers issued a more modest claim. Instead of saying the microbes had completely substituted arsenic for phosphorus, a new statement says the arsenic replaced “a small percentage” of the phosphorus.
A number of biologists say they’ll be surprised if even this stands the test of time.
The claims “do not follow from their results,” said Simon Silver, a University of Illinois microbiologist who specializes in heavy-metal resistance in bacteria.
“This conclusion is not merited from what they did and measured and I think it most likely is a mistake and should never have been claimed or published.”
December 15th, 2010
Granny with skillet KOs intruder:
Police in Hutchinson say a 71-year-old woman used a frying pan to knock out a man who attacked her.
Police Sgt. John Moore say a 25-year-old man talked his way into the woman’s home shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday, claiming he was homeless and had nowhere to go.
Moore says when he tried to attack the woman, she fought back and “beat him down with a frying pan.”
When police arrived, he was unconscious on the floor.
Kevin Scott Funderburk remains jailed on $55,200 bond on suspicion of attempted rape, aggravated battery, criminal restraint and criminal damage to property.
He was wearing a neck brace when he made his first appearance Tuesday in court.
December 15th, 2010
N.Y.C. Sanitation Officials Puzzled Over Missing Appliances:
Over the last several months, 22,741 New Yorkers contacted the city’s Department of Sanitation and arranged for the pickup of refrigerators, air-conditioners and freezers.
In more than 11,000 instances, the machines vanished before sanitation workers arrived in their white trucks to pick them up.
Who, then, is stealing the household appliances of New York City? Perhaps it is not the most pressing question facing city authorities, but it is something of a mystery nonetheless. The appliances did not develop legs and walk away, and they did not simply disappear.
Scavengers, to be sure, abound in New York, especially during tough economic times. But the sheer magnitude of the thefts — 11,528 appliances, to be precise — over a relatively brief period suggests to some in city government and the recycling industry that a more organized enterprise may be at work as well.
December 14th, 2010
Riot in Rome as Silvio Berlusconi survives as Italian premier by just THREE votes:
Incredulity quickly turned to fury today after Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi survived not one but two no-confidence votes in parliament.
The multi-millionaire premier has been dogged by sex scandals and fraud allegations during his highly controversial stint in office but somehow managed to hang on to his position.
Riots erupted on the streets of Rome as protesters failed to come to terms with the fact that Teflon-coated Berlusconi, 74, had scraped through by just three votes.
Inside the parliament chamber, ushers had to pull apart brawling MPs and members of the opposition claimed crucial votes had been ‘bought’ by his party’.
An investigation has been already launched into the allegations.
Silvio Berlusconi vote sparks violence in Rome
The margin of victory was so razor-thin that Mr Berlusconi remains the leader of a lame-duck government which was declared “clinically dead” by the opposition. After months of political crisis, the prime minister scraped through by just three votes in the lower house of parliament, where his once-guaranteed majority was shattered by a split with his one-time ally, Gianfranco Fini, during the summer. Mr Berlusconi’s government defeated the no confidence motion by just 314 votes to 311. It won a similar vote in the upper house of parliament with a more comfortable majority.
December 9th, 2010
TUITION FEES VOTE PROTEST: Charles and Camilla’s car attacked as thousands of students descend on Parliament
Anarchists protesting against the student tuition fees rises attacked Prince Charles and Camilla’s car outside the London Palladium tonight.
The couple were due to attend the Royal Variety Performance, which was taking place close to the epicentre of a day of violent protest in Parliament Square.
Clarence House said that the couple were unharmed even though they were inside the car when the mob struck in the Regent Street attack.
White paint exploded across the rear of the passenger side of the car and a window was broken.
Onlookers said Camilla looked extremely shaken after the incident.
December 9th, 2010
WikiLeaks, Stuxnet, Cyberwar, and Obama:
War is transforming itself before our eyes, turning into something unfamiliar and strange. Information has taken a place as a major class of weaponry, with sabotage and subterfuge as preferred tactics. On the new battlefield, these weapons are available not only to nation-states, but to organizations and even individuals.
The Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is something that ought to be more widely known than it is. Starting in the 1980s, advances in cybernetics and communications began having a dramatic impact had on military operations. Such innovations as Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs) and high channel capacity communications systems not only increased the effectiveness of individual weapons systems, but, acting as force multipliers, they also boosted the capabilities of entire units to a point where they could take on and defeat enemy forces that in the past would have been considered far superior.
The impact of the RMA became apparent in the First Gulf War of 1990-1991. Most of the two-thirds of a million Coalition troops deployed in Saudi Arabia never engaged with enemy forces. The Iraqis were defeated by a handful of spearhead units so technologically superior to the Warsaw Pact-type Iraqi units that there was no contest. In 2003, a much smaller Coalition force routed the Iraqis, utilizing all the technological advantages that had appeared in the ensuing twelve years. (Unfortunately, Donald Rumsfeld attempting to carry out the occupation of Iraq with the same size force, demonstrating that the RMA does not extend to civil affairs.)
But despite all the speculation surrounding the RMA, few foresaw the arrival of a second phase in which the breadth, execution, and very definition of warfare would be transformed. The new technology empowered not only military forces, but also intelligence agencies and even non-state actors. Utilizing communications and cybernetics innovations, the new combatants can, under the right circumstances, have an impact rivaling that of entire nation-states, causing serious turmoil and damage with a minimal outlay of effort. In 2010, we have been introduced to this mutated form of warfare by two distinct events: Stuxnet and WikiLeaks.
Yes it’s long, but read the whole thing. TL;DR doesn’t cut it here…
December 6th, 2010
Priest, rabbi and monk bless ‘cursed’ burger joint:
It’s no joke.
A catholic priest, rabbi and Buddhist monk walked into a new burger joint in Chelsea today to bless the place.
The Buddhist monk turned to the priest and said, “This is my first time blessing a burger joint.”
The priest doesn’t say much, just sprinkles some holy water, but the rabbi said, “The last restaurant I did was a hot dog joint in New Jersey.”
Seriously. The religious men gathered to try to break a curse on 470 W. 23rd St., the new home of New York Burger Co.’s third franchise.
Over the years, about half a dozen restaurants have opened and quickly closed there.
The most recent, Il Bordello, hung in for just nine months last year. Other once promising eateries to open at the spot include Le Solex, Jerry’s Bar & Grill, and the Flamingo Room.
So the New York Burger Co. called in some religious heavyweights before opening next week. The owners invited Robert Chodo Campbell, a Buddhist priest; Father Ed Sombilon a Catholic priest from Holy Trinity Parish in Fort Lee, NJ; and Rabbi Dennis Tobin from Temple Beth-El, in the Bronx.
“We hope to get rid of the bad spirits and start a fresh and have a good vibe here,” said Brice Moldovon, who owns the new restaurant with his family.
December 5th, 2010
Versace murdered ‘because of debts to Mafia
The 50-year-old Versace was gunned down on the steps of his Miami apartment in 1997 by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
According to a new book by Giuseppe Di Bella, a former member of the Calabrian Mafia known as the N’drangheta, Versace was allegedly killed “over debts” he had with the Godfathers.
In the book Metastasi, Di Bella alleges that Versace was being used by Godfather Paolo De Stefano to launder money.
Di Bella told investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi:”There were rivers of money from drugs, extortion, protection rackets, loan sharking, mountains of money and it had to be made clean.
“Bars, restaurants, property and luxury goods were used but also clean businesses like that of Versace.”
Di Bella also describes how the N’drangheta plotted to steal Versace’s ashes from a cemetery near his family home on Lake Como on New Year’s Eve 1997 but it was never carried out.
December 4th, 2010
Snow leads to ‘ultimate pub lock-in’
Two guests and five workers have been stuck at the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge, Kirkbymoorside, North Yorks, since the area’s first snowfall on Nov 26, in what is being called “the ultimate lock-in”.
With snow drifts outside the pub up to 16 feet deep, vehicles have also been buried, meaning escape has proved impossible from the 16th-century freehouse, which at an elevation of 1,325ft advertises itself as the country’s fourth-highest pub.
Katie Underwood, 18, who has been a waitress at the Lion Inn for four years, said: “The novelty is definitely starting to wear off.”
December 4th, 2010
Elephants on drunken rampage kill three people
Binge-drinking elephants, drunk on local hooch, have killed three people and destroyed 60 homes in a four-day rampage in east India.
Yesterday they were reported by local officials to be sleeping off hangovers as shocked communities tried to clear the wreckage left by the 70-strong herd in remote villages on the borders of the states of Orissa and West Bengal.
With a local festival approaching, villagers had stockpiled the fermented-rice based drink which is stored in earthenware vessels and, according to Bijay Kumar Panda, a local administrator, the elephants found and drank it.
They then staggered through the surrounding area and began “to fall asleep hither and thither, throwing life completely haywire”.
According to the Pioneer newspaper, the “jumbos” are known “for their love of local country-made brews” which they “gulp down and make merry at the expense of the villagers”.
December 4th, 2010
Braintree mayor vows to save Christmas from squirrels
Grinch-like squirrels with hearts three sizes too small failed to steal Christmas from Braintree — but the furry little fiends did gum up the town’s tree-lighting festivities.
The yuletide buzz-killers managed to chew through wires on lights strung on four of the eight trees on the town hall mall.
But fear not, Braintree, said a defiant Mayor Joseph Sullivan: “We will have Christmas lights on the town hall mall, despite the squirrels’ desire to thwart Christmas lights in Braintree.”
The ceremony was supposed to take place tomorrow, but when the lights were tested earlier this week, town officials learned the wires had been gnawed and some of the bulbs would not work.
December 3rd, 2010
Charles Manson had a cellphone? California prisons fight inmate cellphone proliferation:
Contraband cellphones are becoming so prevalent in California prisons that guards can’t keep them out of the hands of the most notorious and violent inmates: Even Charles Manson, orchestrator of one of the most notorious killing rampages in U.S. history, was caught with an LG flip phone under his prison mattress.
Manson made calls and sent text messages to people in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia before officers discovered the phone, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections.
Asked whether Manson had used the device to direct anyone to commit a crime or to leave a threatening message, Thornton said, “I don’t know, but it’s troubling that he had a cellphone since he’s a person who got other people to murder on his behalf.”
Although officials say inmates use smuggled cellphones for all manner of criminal activity, including running drug rings from behind bars, intimidating witnesses and planning escapes, it is not a crime to possess one in a California prison.
November 30th, 2010
Report: Co-pilot moved seat, sent jetliner plummeting
The co-pilot of an Air India Express 737 sent the jetliner into a terrifying 7,000-foot plunge in May when he accidentally hit the control column while adjusting his seat, investigators report.
According to the report from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the co-pilot panicked and was unable to execute the proper procedures as the jetliner dropped from 37,000 feet at a 26-degree angle.
The plane and its 113 passengers were saved when the pilot, who’d gone on a bathroom break, used an emergency code to get into the locked cockpit, jumped back into his seat and grabbed the controls to bring the plummeting plane out of its dive.
The aircraft would have broken apart if the descent had continued, the aviation agency report said.
The aircraft was not damaged and no one was injured, the report said. After the pilot, 39, regained control of the plane, he told passengers, who were in the middle of a meal when the jet plunged, that the plane had “went through an air pocket and that is why there was a rapid descent,” according to the report.
November 30th, 2010
Logger dismantles $5,000 sculpture mistaken for wood pile
A New Brunswick logger is unrepentant after beginning to dismantle a wood pile that turned out to be a sculpture titled Deadwood Sleep.
Ron Fahey of Sackville said Monday he was granted permission in August from Mount Allison University to take the logs stacked in an area behind the president’s residence alongside a waterfowl park in the town.
“I got the okay to just take the wood and, to me, it was just a pile of wood,” he said. “If that’s art then I’m in the wrong racket. I guess I’m not cultured.”
He said he was going to use it for firewood and had started to haul some of the wood away on Saturday when the town manager came rushing over to ask if he had permission to touch it.
Mr. Fahey, 59, realized the mistake and stopped working on the pile, though he’d already pulled several logs off.
Andrea Ward, grounds manager at Mount Allison University, said there was confusion over which pile of wood Fahey was to dismantle behind the historic Cranewood residence on the campus.
“Basically we said, ‘We don’t think the wood you’re looking at is on your property, but we do have some wood on our property if you’re interested,’ ” she said.
November 29th, 2010
Cream and sugar with your jet fuel? Plane water tanks mistakenly filled
Three planes belonging to the airline Germanwings reportedly took off this weekend with jet fuel in their drinking water tanks, which nearly made it into passengers’ coffee cups.
According to daily Bild, a 21-year-old service company employee on Saturday thought he was filling the planes at Berlin’s Schönefeld airport with water, not realising the 3,000-litre tank was contaminated with fuel.
The mistake was not discovered until after the planes to Zweibrücken, Cologne and Munich took off, Germanwings spokesman Joachim Schöttes said on Sunday.
The crews all reported noticing a strange smell while preparing beverages for passengers, at which point they decided to serve juice and soft drinks instead, Bild reported.
“The passengers had to do without tea and coffee,” Schöttes said.
November 29th, 2010
Bombs kill Iran nuclear scientist, wound another:
Assailants on motorcycles attached bombs to the cars of two nuclear scientists as they were driving to work in Tehran Monday, killing one and wounding the other, state media and officials said.
Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the man killed was involved in a major project at the country’s chief nuclear agency, though he did not give specifics.
Some Iranian media reported that the wounded scientist was a laser expert at Iran’s Defense Ministry and one of the country’s few top specialists in nuclear isotope separation.
UPDATE: looks like there’s a Stuxnet connection too! http://www.debka.com/article/20406/
November 23rd, 2010
South Korea warns North Korea it will ’sternly retaliate’ to any further provocation:
Two South Korean marines were killed and 17 others injured, as well as three civilians, after North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells onto a Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow sea, 50 miles off the South’s northwest coast in an area close to a disputed sea border.
The attack, which comes days after it emerged that North Korea was pressing ahead with its illegal nuclear programme, marks a serious further escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
A presidential statement said the shelling “constitutes a clear armed provocation.”
“Furthermore, its reckless shelling of civilian targets is unpardonable.
November 18th, 2010
Terrorist fears after mystery explosion in forest
Anti-terrorism and bomb disposal experts from the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Navy have been called in after a walker heard what sounded like a bomb going off in Garadhban Forest, Loch Lomond.
When police officers arrived, they uncovered several explosive devices and found that a tree had been blown up.
Two areas of land were cordoned off to make the area safe. Shops and businesses in the nearby village of Gartocharn have been asked to hand over CCTV as a matter of urgency, and villagers and National Park staff have been told to report any suspicious activity they have seen in recent days.
Police have promised to continue intensive patrols in the area for the next three days, and a spokesman for the Scottish Government said ministers were being kept informed.
Officers refused to speculate on the motives for the explosion, but an expert said the signs all pointed towards an act of terrorism.
November 17th, 2010
Bristol Palin’s dancing on TV set off man in standoff, complaint says:
Allegedly set off by Bristol Palin’s appearance on “Dancing with the Stars,” a rural Black Earth man kept police at bay outside his home for 15 hours Monday and Tuesday before he surrendered to police.
Steven N. Cowan, 66, railed at the television as the daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin appeared on the ABC program, his wife told police Monday after she fled from the town of Vermont house, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court.
Cowan had also been under stress because of a financial situation and was receiving care for a mental health problem, the complaint states.
Cowan’s wife, Janice, told police that her husband had been drinking, but she did not think he was intoxicated.
The complaint charged Cowan with second-degree reckless endangerment.
According to the complaint, Cowan and his wife were watching “Dancing with the Stars” when Cowan jumped up and swore as Bristol Palin appeared, saying something about “the (expletive) politics.” Cowan was upset that a political figure’s daughter was on the show when he didn’t think she was a good dancer, the complaint states.
November 16th, 2010
Panic after ‘Devil attack’ at school
Panic broke out at the Moruga Composite School yesterday as 17 female students fell mysteriously ill and began rolling on the ground, hissing and blabbering in a strange tongue, after suffering bouts of nausea and headaches. Two of the students reportedly tried to throw themselves off a railing and had to be physically restrained, triggering fears of a possible demon attack.The drama started during the lunch hour in the Form One block and quickly spread to other areas. Form Five student Kern Mollineau, who attends the Lighthouse Tabernacle Church, said he got worried when the girls’ eyes began rolling up in their heads and they began beating up on the ground.
November 15th, 2010
El Ponchis, the sadistic executioner who is terrorising Mexico…. at the age of 12
He is the sadistic executioner whose killings have terrorised Mexico.
But unlike most of the brutal players in the country’s horrific drug wars, El Ponchis (The Cloak) is just 12 years old.
The diminutive hitman, whose real name is not known, is in the pay of a Mexican cartel battling for control of the cocaine trade.
He works alongside a posse of women dubbed the Chavelas, who are responsible for dumping the bodies of his victims. Some of them are believed to be his sisters.
A Mexican Army spokesman said: ‘We understand El Ponchis works under the command of Julio Jesus Radilla.
‘These victims were tortured, their throats cut and bodies dumped at roadsides.’
Gruesome videos of El Ponchis torturing and executing his enemies have been circulated online.
His favoured technique is to slit the throats of his victims using a cutting technique which leaves the head hanging by a thread.
The killer has also posed for photographs wielding a rifle and standing beside a body.
November 12th, 2010
Russian assassin ’sent to kill double agent who betrayed Anna Chapman’
A contract killer has been dispatched to assassinate the Russian double agent who betrayed Anna Chapman and nine other spies in the United States this spring, according to reports in Moscow.
“We know who he is and where he is,” a high-ranking Kremlin source told the reputable Kommersant newspaper.
“You can have no doubt – a Mercader has already been sent after him.”
Ramón Mercader was the KGB-hired Spanish communist who was sent to kill Leon Trotsky with an icepick in Mexico in 1940.
The traitor was reportedly identified as a Colonel Shcherbakov, an officer of the SVR (foreign intelligence service) who headed the S directorate of the service’s US department, which controlled the ring of sleeper agents, including Chapman.
Shcherbakov is thought to have fled Russia three days before the president, Dmitry Medvedev, visited Barack Obama on 24 June, when the two leaders ate hamburgers together at a diner in Virginia.
“After that, the Americans, worried that we would suspect a betrayal and start pulling our agents from the US, began to arrest them,” said the Kremlin source.
November 11th, 2010
Former mob boss Nicolo Rizzuto gunned down
For a time it seemed Nicolo Rizzuto was the last of the untouchables, or at least that the enemies picking off his family had decided to let the elderly godfather live out his final years.
Mr. Rizzuto was shot dead at his home at dinnertime Wednesday in what may be a stunning coup de grâce against the mob clan he headed for 30 years.
The 86-year-old was shot at 5:45 p.m. at his house on Antoine-Berthelet Avenue, the street where Mr. Rizzuto, his imprisoned son, Vito, and several of his acolytes have lived for years.
Mr. Rizzuto’s crime clan has been under attack in Montreal’s underworld for several years.
A number of high-profile members have disappeared or been killed, including Mr. Rizzuto’s grandson and namesake, Nick Rizzuto, who was shot dead standing beside his black Mercedes last December.
“It’s the end of the Rizzuto crime family. The killing is probably not over, but the family is finished,” said retired RCMP intelligence analyst Pierre de Champlain.
November 10th, 2010
Graffiti tagger who urinated on transformer gets shock of his life
A GRAFFITI vandal who cheated death while tagging a railway power substation caused thousands of dollars damage and shut down the Gold Coast train line for a day.
But a potentially lethal shock of up to 22,000 volts has left the man, 22, with injuries so severe that police are in no rush to press charges.
He remains at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with third-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body after a midnight mission to “bomb” Coomera station last month went catastrophically wrong.
Panicked companions, allegedly in an effort to disguise their October 15 expedition, told ambulance officers the man had urinated on a high-voltage transformer.
But investigators concluded he was scaling the transformer to spray his tag “Wino” when he touched a highly-charged “bush head” and was thrown on to the concrete below. The fact it was raining may have saved him.
November 8th, 2010
Wife eats all the fries, accused ‘enraged’ hubby goes on rampage
A 32-year-old man accused of hitting his wife with a small bat after getting “enraged because she ate all the French fries” faces charges, according to a recently released Martin County Sheriff’s Office report.
Fernando Guzman Cruz, 32, faces charges including false imprisonment with a weapon (domestic), battery (domestic) and assault (domestic) following the 2 a.m. Friday incidents in the 11500 block of Southwest Kanner Highway in Indiantown.
Cruz’s 51-year-old wife said Cruz was “enraged because she ate all the French fries” and started to yell, swear and throw things around their trailer.
She said he started swinging a 12 inch wood bat at her but missed. She tried to leave three times, but Cruz, who was intoxicated and smelled strongly of booze, locked the door and threw her on their living room bed. He finally hit her right calf and foot with the bat.
Hat tip to Will!
November 7th, 2010
Ten-Day-Old Bartlesville Baby Found Dead In A Washing Machine
Bartlesville Police are investigating the death of a 10-day-old baby.
The infant’s mother, Lyndsey Fiddler, has been arrested for second-degree manslaughter. Police officers were called to a downtown apartment at 7:42 p.m. Thursday after receiving a 911 call.
When they arrived, they found the infant dead inside a washing machine, having been put in there with clothes and gone through an entire wash cycle.
Bartlesville Police Chief Tom Holland says in his 40 years of police work he has never seen or heard of anything like this.
“I started in Fort Worth and have walked into apartments with seven dead bodies, seen terrible crimes, mass murder, even,” Holland said.
Police say an aunt of the mother went over Thursday night to check on Fiddler and her three kids and found a terrible scene.
“The mother was asleep and she had trouble waking her and heard the washer out of balance, clanging, so went to lift the lid so it would stop and in the washing machine, saw the baby,” Holland said.
November 7th, 2010
Obama piles more military pressure on Iran – conspicuously
Before taking off for Asia Saturday, Nov. 6, President Barack Obama ordered the Pentagon not just to beef up American and NATO military pressure on Iran but to do so as conspicuously as possible, debkafile’s Washington and military sources report .
At a special White House security consultation last week, Obama said it was time to plant America’s military option against the Iranian nuclear threat visibly and tangibly under the noses of Iran’s political and military decision-makers.
In the last few days, three aircraft carriers, four nuclear submarines and marine assault units have piled up opposite Iranian shores.
Early Sunday, the influential Senator Lindsey Graham (R. South Carolina), member of the Armed Services and Homeland Defense committees, said: “The US should consider sinking the Iranian navy, destroying its air force and delivering a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guards.”
In an address to the Halifax International Security forum, he declared “They should neuter the regime, destroy its ability to fight back and hope Iranians will take the chance to take back their government.”
Umm, hope is not a strategy, neither is it a policy, nor is it leadership. At best it is incompetence; at worst, it’s all that your “leader” has to offer…
November 3rd, 2010
Zimbabwean man killed by lions while showering
The man was attacked while using an outside shower at a fishing camp near Mana Pools National Park, Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwean Conservation Task Force told German news agency DPA.
The area, located on the Zambesi River, is popular with hunters, most of whom stay in basic camps that offer little protection against attack by wild animals.
The attack is the latest in a string of lion attacks in the area, Mr Rodrigues said.
Eight villagers were killed in a spate of lion attacks over a period of about two months this year, he said. Those attacks only stopped when a pride of lions was killed.
October 27th, 2010
Western couple mocked as ‘infidel’ by wedding ‘minister’ at luxury Maldive resort
A luxury resort in the Maldives has sparked outrage after a video appeared on You Tube showing members of staff abusing and mocking their guests using a language they were unable to understand.
Employees at the Vilu Reef Beach and Spa resort can be seen calling an English-speaking couple ‘infidel’ and ‘swine’ and calling their guests’ marriage illegal in their native Dhivehi tongue throughout the 15-minute wedding ceremony.
According to the Maldive news service Minivan News, the video which was uploaded to You Tube ‘as a joke’ shows an employee named Hussein Didi conducting a service as a ‘celebrant’ – a person who is empowered to perform a religious ceremony.
‘Fornication has been legalised according to Article six, 1.11 of the Penal Code’, he chants in a tone favoured by religious scholars. ‘That is, frequent fornication by homosexuals. Most fornication is by males,’ he continues.
‘You are swine. The children that you bear from this marriage will all be bastard swine,’ he says to his guests.
‘Your marriage is not a valid one. You are not the kind of people who can have a valid marriage. One of you is an infidel. The other, too, is an infidel – and we have reason to believe – an atheist, who does not even believe in an infidel religion.’
October 27th, 2010
Dead man ‘fed to dog, left in freezer’:
The girlfriend and children of a US man have been charged with his murder after his remains were found inside a freezer.
David Reuben Green Jr’s de facto partner Wendy Edmond Green and his teenage children of are accused of feeding parts of his body to their pit-bull, as well as bringing friends to their home in North Carolina to show off “their father’s mutilated and quartered body”, the News & Observer reports.
Ms Green, who took on her wealthy partner’s surname despite them never marrying, also posed as his wife to withdraw money from his bank accounts, police say.
The 41-year-old told family that her boyfriend was overseas — but after a long absence, his extended family began to suspect something was amiss and hired a private investigator to track him down.
October 27th, 2010
Nasa plan Hundred Year Starship – the mission that will take astronauts to Mars and leave them there forever
Nasa is planning an audacious mission to send a manned spacecraft on a one-way trip to permanently settle on other planets.
The ambitious idea is known as the Hundred Years Starship and would send astronauts to colonise planets like Mars, knowing they could never come home.
NASA Ames Director Pete Worden revealed that one of NASA’s main research centres, Ames Research Centre, has received £1million funding to start work on the project.
The research team has also received an additional $100,000 from Nasa. An artist’s impression of a Mars base manned
‘You heard it here,” Worden said at ‘Long Conversation,’ an event in San Francisco.
‘We also hope to inveigle some billionaires to form a Hundred Year Starship fund.’
He added: ‘The human space program is now really aimed at settling other worlds. Twenty years ago you had to whisper that in dark bars and get fired.’
October 26th, 2010
Sesame Street Tweet Sparks Rumors That Bert Is Out of the Closet:
He’s lived with a man for 31 years and wears turtlenecks and saddle shoes, and rumors of his homosexuality have swirled for years.
But no one’s ever heard directly from Sesame Street’s Bert on his sexuality, until now… sort of.
On June 11, the famous puppet tweeted about the recent “A-Team” remake by comparing himself to A-Team star Mr-T, saying, “Ever notice how similar my hair is to Mr. T’s? The only difference is mine is a little more ‘mo,’ a little less ‘hawk.’”
To some the comment was just a cute quip about hairstyles, but to others, “mo” was short for “homo” and this was Bert’s way of coming out at the perfect time.
On the other hand, he may just be plain evil: http://www.bertisevil.tv/
October 26th, 2010
Saddam aide Tariq Aziz sentenced to hang:
Saddam Hussein’s longtime foreign minister Tariq Aziz was sentenced to death by hanging Tuesday for persecuting members of Shiite religious parties under the former regime.
Iraq’s high criminal court spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Sahib did not say when Aziz, 74, would be put to death.
The death sentence followed his conviction of taking part in a Saddam-led campaign that hunted and executed members of the Shiite Dawa Party, of which current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a member.
Aziz, a Christian who became the international face of Saddam’s regime, can appeal the sentence.
October 25th, 2010
Baby killed as family jumps from Paris window after ‘devil sighting’
A baby died when a family of 12 leapt from their second floor balcony in Paris claiming they were fleeing the devil.
Eight more were injured, some seriously, in the tragedy when they jumped 20ft into a car park in Paris suburb of La Verriere.
The baffling incident occurred when a wife woke to see her husband moving about naked in the room, police said.
She began screaming ‘it’s the devil! it’s the devil!’, and the man ran into the other room where 11 others adults and children were watching television.
One woman grabbed a knife and stabbed the man before others pushed him out through the front door.
When the man forced his way back in, they all began screamed in terror and leapt from the balcony screaming ‘Jesus! Jesus!’
October 21st, 2010
Crocodile caused plane crash: survivor:
A plane crash in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that killed a British pilot and 19 others could have been caused by an escaped crocodile, a magazine has reported.
The aircraft plummeted to the ground when the animal, which had been smuggled into the cabin, sparked panic among passengers, the unnamed sole survivor told African magazine Jeune Afrique.
A British expert, who is investigating the crash for the Department for Transport, said he could not rule out a crocodile as the cause, but added it would be “extremely unlikely”.
According to reports, the accident followed a stampede of terrified passengers fleeing the crocodile after it freed itself from a sports bag in which it had been carried on board.
October 21st, 2010
Kanye West has teeth replaced with diamonds: ‘They were cooler’
He travels by private jet, holidays on a luxury yacht and dates beautiful models.
And now Kanye West has the ultimate accessory to his rock star life – diamond teeth.
The rapper showed off the sparkling diamond and gold implants to chatshow host Ellen DeGeneres yesterday.
‘I just thought that diamonds were cooler,’ he told her, saying he asked the dentist to remove his bottom row of teeth and replace them.
A fascinated Ellen asked: ‘It’s not a grill?’ Kanye replied: ‘It’s really my real teeth. I replaced my bottom row of teeth.
October 15th, 2010
Blasts hit secret Iranian missile launching-pad for US, Israeli targets:
A top-secret Iranian military installation was struck by a triple blast Tues. Oct. 12 the day before Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Lebanon.
debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report the site held most of the Shehab-3 medium-range missile launchers Iran had stocked for striking US forces in Iraq and Israel in the event of war – some set to deliver triple warheads (tri-conic nosecones).
The 18 soldiers officially reported killed in the blasts and 14 injured belonged to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) main missile arm, the Al-Hadid Brigades.
The Imam Ali Base where the explosion occurred is situated in lofty Zagros mountain country near the town of Khorramabad in the western Iranian province of Lorestan. This site was selected for an altitude which eases precise targeting and the difficulty of reaching it for air or ground attack.
It lies 400 kilometers from Baghdad and primary American bases in central Iraq and 1,250 kilometers from Tel Aviv and central Israel. Both are well within the Shehab-3 missile’s 1,800-2,500-kilometer operational range.
Our Iranian sources report that Tehran spent hundreds of millions to build one of the largest subterranean missile launching facilities of its kind in the Middle East or Europe. Burrowed under the Imam Ali Base is a whole network of wide tunnels deep underground. Somehow, a mysterious hand rigged three blasts in quick succession deep inside those tunnels, destroying a large number of launchers and causing enough damage to render the facility unfit for use.
October 15th, 2010
Fear of elves made Montreal man get powerful guns
A man charged with uttering death threats on Facebook armed himself with high-powered weapons because he feared he was being stalked by elves, a Montreal court was told Wednesday.
Quebec provincial police told David Abitbol’s bail hearing that he told a friend on the Internet that his .12-gauge shotgun was just what he needed to kill the mythical creatures.
A disturbing portrait emerged of the 28-year-old Abitbol during Wednesday’s proceedings in which the Crown reported that an initial evaluation indicated that he was fit to stand trial.
“There’s nothing at this point to make us doubt his ability to appear or his fitness to stand trial,” said prosecutor Steeve Lariviere.
October 14th, 2010
Tongue piercing killed woman in 2 days
A woman died of blood poisoning two days after having her tongue pierced as a birthday treat, an inquest was told on Thursday.
Amanda Taylor wanted the stud so she could look like royal Zara Phillips and pop star Pink, her family said.
The 34-year-old collapsed within 48 hours of having the 2cm (0.8in) steel bar put through her tongue. Just before she died, she wrote on Facebook: ‘I feel like crap.’
Before yesterday’s hearing, Miss Taylor’s mother Lorraine, 61, said: ‘I was against [the piercing] and Amanda never did anything unless she had my blessing.
‘But her friend was having it done too so I said: “You’re going to be 34 – I’ll give you my blessing but I’m still not 100 per cent happy”.
October 14th, 2010
Mystery shiny objects floating over Manhattan spark UFO frenzy:
A mysterious shiny object floating high over Manhattan’s West Side set off a flurry of reports and wild speculation Wednesday that a UFO was flying over the city.
Police and the FAA said they began getting flooded with calls starting at 1:30 p.m. from people reporting a silvery object hovering high over Chelsea.
Law enforcement sources said they believed the object was likely some sort of balloon, but as of late Wednesday they had not confirmed exactly what it is.
A Daily News reporter could see a tiny, silver dot floating approximately 5,000 feet above 23th St. and Eighth Ave., where dozens of people gathered late in the afternoon to catch a glimpse.
October 11th, 2010
Iran may have executed nuclear staffers over Stuxnet
Debkafile’s intelligence sources report information reaching the West in the past week that Iran has put to death a number of atomic scientists and technicians suspected of helping plant the Stuxnet virus in its nuclear program. The admission by Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization, on Friday, Oct. 8 – the frankest yet by any Iranian official – that Western espionage had successfully penetrated its nuclear program is seen as bearing out those reports.
It also attests to the damaging effect the malworm has had on the program: the Bushehr reactor has faced one delay after another since it was inaugurated in August and other nuclear plants are functioning only partially since the virus first surfaced last July. Salehi said the West had stepped up efforts “to establish contact with experts” at his agency and “lure them with promises of further study and better jobs abroad.” Some nuclear personnel, he said, had access to information about Iran’s plans for “foreign purchases and commercial affairs.”
He thus accused Iranian personnel of making it possible for Western agencies to use items purchased overseas as Stuxnet carriers. But, the Iranian nuclear chief contended, Iran had countered their efforts and security had been stepped up so as to make it “almost impossible” for secrets to leak out. “The issue of spies existed in the past, but is diminishing day by day,” he said
October 7th, 2010
Wife set fire to husband to “purify his penis,” court told – Monsters and Critics:
An Australian set her husband’s genitals alight because she suspected he was having an affair and wanted to ‘purify his penis,’ a court in Adelaide was told Thursday.
Rajini Narayan, 46, has pleaded not guilty to murdering her husband and causing the fire that burned down their 1-million-Australian-dollar (980,000-US-dollar) home.
Satish Narayan died in hospital from his injuries several weeks after being allegedly doused with methylated spirits and set alight in the 2008 attack.
‘He was my hero, the man of my life, the love of my life,’ the mother-of-three told the court. ‘I was going to purify his penis, leave a mark there and he would remain with me. He would be mine.’
October 6th, 2010
Fall Kills 1 At Grand Canyon; Lighting Strikes 2:
A California man fell to his death and two Korean women were injured after they were stuck by lightning at the Grand Canyon on Friday afternoon.
An eyewitness to the man falling said he was trying to jump from one outcropping to another just off the South Rim Trail.
The body of Andrew N. Stires, 42, of Burbank, Calif., was found by a National Park Service helicopter crew about 500 feet below the rim.
High winds and lightning prevented the recover until Saturday, according to park rangers.
The two Korean women were believed to have been struck by secondary lightning while standing on the rim east of the visitor center, rangers said.
September 29th, 2010
An alarmed Iran asks for outside help to stop rampaging Stuxnet malworm
Tehran this week secretly appealed to a number of computer security experts in West and East Europe with offers of handsome fees for consultations on ways to exorcize the Stuxnet worm spreading havoc through the computer networks and administrative software of its most important industrial complexes and military command centers.
debkafile’s intelligence and Iranian sources report Iran turned for outside help after local computer experts failed to remove the destructive virus.
None of the foreign experts has so far come forward because Tehran refuses to provide precise information on the sensitive centers and systems under attack and give the visiting specialists the locations where they would need to work.
They were not told whether they would be called on to work outside Tehran or given access to affected sites to study how they function and how the malworm managed to disable them.
Iran also refuses to give out data on the changes its engineers have made to imported SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, mostly from Germany.
The impression debkafile sources gained Wednesday, Sept. 29 from talking to European computer experts approached for aid was that the Iranians are getting desperate.
Not only have their own attempts to defeat the invading worm failed, but they made matters worse: The malworm became more aggressive and returned to the attack on parts of the systems damaged in the initial attack.
September 28th, 2010
Aliens have deactivated British and US nuclear missiles, say US military pilots:
Aliens have landed, infiltrated British nuclear missile sites and deactivated the weapons, according to US military pilots.
The beings have repeated their efforts in the US and have been active since 1948, the men said, and accused the respective governments of trying to keep the information secret.
The unlikely claims were compiled by six former US airmen and another member of the military who interviewed or researched the evidence of 120 ex-military personnel.
The information they have collected suggests that aliens could have landed on Earth as recently as seven years ago.
The men’s aim is to press the two governments to recognise the long-standing extra-terrestrial visits as fact.
September 24th, 2010
Polygamist King Mswati of Swaziland fires justice minister after affair with 1 of 14 wives
The polygamous king of Swaziland has fired his justice minister after the politician was caught red-handed having an affair with one of the king’s 14 wives.
King Mswati III acted after pictures emerged of his minister Ndumiso Mamba hiding in the base of his adulterous wife’s bed.
The astonishing images show security officials standing around the upturned bed looking down at the forlorn minister.
Rumours that King Mswati III’s twelfth wife, 22-year-old Nothando Dube – a former Miss Teen Swaziland – had been having an affair have circulated inside the country for weeks.
While local media are banned from reporting the scandal, it was widely rumoured that Mrs Dube liked to disguise herself as a soldier in order to sneak out of the royal palace and meet her lover undetected.
September 23rd, 2010
DC Woman Evicted From Home Was A Hoarder:
An eviction in D.C. turned into a bigger job than anyone could have ever expected.
The woman being kicked out is a hoarder.
What was in her home was enough to fill ten houses.
All of it wound up piled up on both sides of her street and a block down another. It took a small army to move it all.
A moving company hauled away about half of it.
The city loaded up seven dump trucks and took the rest to a storage facility.
“I’ve never, never, never seen anything like this in my life,” said neighbor Rhonda Carter.
Furniture, old electronics, box after box of stuff by the thousands were piled up on both sides of the street for two blocks, stacked four feet high.
“My thought was maybe about 15 people had just gotten set out,” said Donnell Thompkins, who came by to visit his brother.
September 23rd, 2010
Mom jailed after Palmetto High student fight
The mother of a 16-year-old Palmetto High School student was arrested Wednesday on child abuse charges, accused of encouraging her daughter to fight another student, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reported.
The girl told her mother, April Newcomb, that she was planning to fight another 16-year-old girl Friday in an empty lot on 17th Street West near Emerson Point, the report stated.
According to the report, the fight was over when deputies arrived.
In the video, Newcomb, 39, is not shown making any attempt to stop the fight, the report stated.
September 22nd, 2010
Stuxnet malware is ‘weapon’ out to destroy … Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant?
Cyber security experts say they have identified the world’s first known cyber super weapon designed specifically to destroy a real-world target – a factory, a refinery, or just maybe a nuclear power plant.
The cyber worm, called Stuxnet, has been the object of intense study since its detection in June. As more has become known about it, alarm about its capabilities and purpose have grown.
Some top cyber security experts now say Stuxnet’s arrival heralds something blindingly new: a cyber weapon created to cross from the digital realm to the physical world – to destroy something.
At least one expert who has extensively studied the malicious software, or malware, suggests Stuxnet may have already attacked its target – and that it may have been Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, which much of the world condemns as a nuclear weapons threat.
September 15th, 2010
Man suffers shocking injuries after being stung 1200 times by angry swarm of bees
AN AMERICAN stung 1200 times by a swarm of bees as he mowed his lawn has amazed doctors and family with his survival.
Lamar LaCaze, 65, was riding his tractor when he was suddenly set upon by the bees near his home in San Marcos, 270 kilometres, west of Houston, Texas, last month.
”The bees … just flashed up in my face,” he told the San Marcos Daily Record. “I couldn’t stand up. They just keep [sic] buzzing me.”
Mr LaCaze got off his tractor and tried to call his wife, but was unable to reach her. He was not rescued until his son, Trey, arrived home and, having found his father slumped over a fence, called emergency services.
“He was not moving. When I went to pull him out he looked up. His head was black, solid bees. It looked like a bee hive on his head,” Trey LaCaze said.
Doctors pulled more than 1200 stingers out of Mr LacCaze’s body, and also pulled whole bees from his ears, nose, mouth and throat
September 13th, 2010
Fired Domino’s pizza worker torches two of chain’s stores: authorities:
Guess he likes his crust crispy and burnt.
A pyromaniac pizza-maker fired from his job at Domino’s decided to turn up the heat on his former employer — torching two of the chain’s Bronx restaurants by setting fire to pizza boxes, authorities said today.
The antics of accused arsonist Jamal Thomas threatened the life of at least one person and cost Domino’s more than $1 million in building damage and lost business, according to FDNY officials.
“Domino’s is a terrible place to work,” griped Thomas, 24, to authorities after his bust, according to court papers.
“They didn’t treat me right. They are terrible to workers. I was punched at work, and nobody helped me.”
September 13th, 2010
Microsoft Changes Policy Over Russian Crackdown
Microsoft announced sweeping changes on Monday to its software policy in Russia, responding to criticism that it has been supporting a crackdown on dissent.
The company essentially prohibited its Russian division from taking part in piracy cases against government opponents and declared that it would thwart any attempt by the authorities, in this country and elsewhere, to use such inquiries to exert political pressure.
The security services in recent years have seized computers from dozens of outspoken advocacy groups and opposition newspapers in raids that all but paralyzed their operations.
Officials claim that they are merely investigating the piracy of Microsoft software, but the searches typically happen when these groups are seeking to draw attention to a cause or event.
September 13th, 2010
Mother obsessed with computer game neglects her three children and lets two dogs starve to death
A mother neglected her three children and let her dogs starve to death because she was so obsessed with a computer game.
The 33-year-old woman played the Small World game almost non-stop on the internet for months while her children were reduced to eating cold baked beans straight from the tin with their fingers.
Her home became filthy, with rubbish strewn over the floor and the bodies of her two dogs, a German shepherd and a lurcher, left for two months in the dining room it was revealed.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been given a suspended jail sentence and banned from using the internet by a judge in Kent.
September 9th, 2010
Father sacrifices newborn girl child in Gujarat to please deity
In a shocking incident, a father scarified his newborn girl child to keep his promise to his family deity Kitotarmata.
The man, Narottam Mana Devipujak, threw his child in a drain near his house in Sundarpuri, a busy slum area of Gandhidham.
“We have arrested the accused for this heinous crime,” said MK Jadeja, police inspector of A-division police station, on Monday.
“Narottam Devipujak was produced before the magistrate in Gandhidham court today.”
According to the details of the case, the incident took place on Janmashtami night.
Narottam, who sells vegetables from a kiosk, had vowed that he would offer a male goat to the goddess if a son was born to him.
But if a girl child was born, he had sworn that he would straightway offer the child to the deity.
September 7th, 2010
Butts Arrested in Boob Murder Case
Police have arrested a third person in connection with the murder of Samuel Boob.
Boob was shot and killed at his home in Potter Township, Centre County, on the morning of August 23rd, 2009.
Kermit Butts, 26, of Madisonburg, is accused of driving the suspected killer to and from the crime scene on the morning of the killing.
He was charged with aggravated assault and assisting a murder suspect and placed in the Centre County Prison.
September 3rd, 2010
Ferrari Recalls 1,248 Cars due to Fire Hazard
Ferrari says it is recalling 1,248 of its 458 Italia supercars after reports of fires breaking out in five of the luxury vehicles in several countries.
The Italian carmaker said Thursday it wants to replace an adhesive that in some circumstances can melt due to overheating and possibly ignite.
Fires in the car that sells for euro197,000 ($253,000) have been reported in California, Switzerland, China and France.
Ferrari spokesman Stefano Lai says the company will be asking the owners of 1,248 cars produced before July 2010 to bring them in to have the glue replaced with mechanical fasteners.
August 30th, 2010
Mysterious death of Russian military intelligence high-up in Syria
Gen. Yuri Ivanov, 52, deputy head of GRU, the Russian military’s overseas intelligence arm of Russian military, was found dead in mysterious circumstances described in a terse official Russian eulogy as a tragic swimming accident “several days ago.”
No further details were provided such as where he died. Although he apparently drowned off the shore of Syrian Latakia, his body was recovered from Turkish waters ten days after he went missing.
Our sources surmise that Gen. Yuri Ivanov went missing from a private, secretive engagement from which his aides and guards were banished to wait outside, not swimming alone in the sea of Latakia. This would account for the delay in reporting his disappearance.
They recall in this regard his former position as head of the North Caucasus branch of Russian military intelligence, which he held until late 2006. In this capacity he played a leading role in clandestine operations against al Qaeda and the Chechen revolt. Among the many terrorist groups present in Syria are al Qaeda cells from the Caucasian.
August 26th, 2010
Japanese politician launches attack on ‘River Kwai’ Britons :
A politician tipped as a future Japanese prime minister has said the British are not very likeable, but admitted the way British prisoners marched in The Bridge on the River Kwai demonstrated their best qualities.
Ichiro Ozawa, the former secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Democratic Party, also said he values US democracy but dismissed the American people as “simple-minded”.
The 68-year-old veteran politician, who resigned as the second most important official in the ruling party in June after coming under fire for campaign finance scandals, reportedly said: “I don’t like British people,” before praising British democracy and their discipline, citing the 1957 Second World War II film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, in which British prisoners of war march in orderly ranks.
The film, based on the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai starred Sir Alec Guinness, William Holden and Jack Hawkins. Guinness won an Oscar for his portrayal of Colonel Nicholson, who convinces the other British prisoners of war to build a bridge for the Burma-Siam railway as a means of boosting British morale but which eventually turns into a monument to himself.
The film won six other Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Veterans of the Second World War who fought against Japan said Mr Ozawa’s comments about Britain were insensitive but they would “not get into a sweat about it”.
August 26th, 2010
School sorry for Hitler costume:
A Perth Catholic school has apologised to parents who were offended by a Year 4 student pretending to be Adolf Hitler being awarded first place in his class at a school dress-up day.
The inner-city school sent out a letter of apology on Wednesday after parents complained about the boy’s character portrayal at a book-week assembly.
The principal said a handful of parents had approached or emailed him after the event to say the costume, which included a swastika, should not have been allowed in the school.
Children had been asked to dress up as a famous character. “He (Hitler) was a fairly famous person,” he said. Two children from each class were judged as having the best costumes.
The principal was one of a group of teachers who decided who would win. He said claims that other children had been chanting “Hitler” while the student was on stage were untrue.
“It was a form of voting,” he said. “I would strongly deny that the children were chanting ‘Hitler’, I take strong umbrage to that.”
Other characters’ names were also called out as part of the voting process.
“Some people got upset because kids called out Hitler,” he said. The principal said he did not see anything “sinister” in the student’s choice of character.
“To me it’s a mountain out of a molehill,” he said.
August 25th, 2010
2 men arrested for shoplifting at a ‘Shop With a Cop’ event:
You couldn’t miss the large presence of Portland police officers at the Fred Meyer off Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard this morning.
Mounted patrol officers were out front.
K9 patrol were teaming around and about 60 other uniformed officers from assistant chiefs and commanders to patrol officers and traffic cops were inside.
It was the annual “Shop With a Cop” back-to-school event, with officers helping about 160 children pick out clothing and school supplies for the approaching school year.
But that didn’t stop two shoplifters from going aisle to aisle, picking out a few items of their own.
While officers were helping out the kids, store security alerted the police they had their eyes on two young men packing their own backpacks with merchandise.
August 24th, 2010
Anger as ex-finance minister warns Muslims ‘making Germany stupid’
A LEADING German Social Democrat has written a book with an apocalyptic vision of his country sliding into poverty, stupidity and Muslim domination.
Thilo Sarrazin, 65, a former Berlin finance minister and current Bundesbank board member, is already under investigation by a public prosecutor for allegedly inciting racial hatred by blaming immigrants for making Germany “dumber” and calling Muslim children “underclass citizens.”
Now his book, Germany is destroying itself: How we are gambling with our country, threatens the strained social fabric of the “multi-culti” Fatherland once more at a time of rising racial tensions and the radicalisation of Islamic youth.
“I don’t want the country of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to become, in large part, Muslim, that over wide areas Turkish and Arabic are spoken, where the women wear headscarves and the daily rhythms of life are dictated by the call of the Muezzin,” he writes.
August 23rd, 2010
Dismissed cop takes tourists hostage in Manila:
A dismissed policeman armed with an automatic rifle seized a bus in the Philippine capital Monday with 25 passengers, most of them Hong Kong tourists, in a bid to demand his reinstatement, police said.
Six hostages, including three children, were subsequently released, and appeared to be unhurt.
Police sharpshooters took positions around the white-blue-red bus, which was parked near a downtown Manila park, and negotiations to free the remaining hostages were under way, deputy director of Manila police Alex Gutierrez said.
August 23rd, 2010
$1m to streak in front of Obama
A British billionaire has offered $1 million to the first person who manages to streak naked in front of Barack Obama.
Alki David, ranked 45th in the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated fortune of £1.15 billion, made the pledge as part of a publicity stunt for a new website.
The Nigerian born businessman, 42, set up the Battlecam site, which offers people thousands of pounds if they perform, and video, crazy stunts live through the site.
Mr Alki, who is also an actor, initially offered $100,000 to the person who successfully streaked in front of the US President, reports the Daily Telegraph.
But now he has raised the stakes to $1 million (£639,000) after being told the prize money was “not enough” to warrant such a daring prank.
The only catch is the person has to have the website’s name scrawled across their stomach.
August 18th, 2010
Memphis councilwoman Janis Fullilove apologizes for ‘pole dancing’ incident
Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove sent a letter of apology to the president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials for what she described as “over the top” behavior at a party last week.
Fullilove, regional director for NBC-LEO, said Tuesday that she engaged in dancing — including pole dancing — on a river cruise during the group’s gathering in Memphis.
“Yes, I was on the pole,” said Fullilove. “I was having a good time but I wasn’t drinking.
“I went overboard because I was trying to do the Soul Train. I was dancing on the pole and I was just trying to have a good time.
“It was over the top. It was over the top and I apologize.”
August 16th, 2010
End of the world…for real
Last week we were attacked by the sun. For real. Huge solar eruptions sent a blast of radiation toward Earth. Thankfully, the planet’s natural magnetic shield warded off the worst effects. Life went on uninterrupted.
That won’t always be the case. In 1859, Richard Carrington recorded what is now called the “Carrington Effect” — intense solar activity that can disrupt modern life dramatically.
In Carrington’s day, there were few electromechanical systems for intense solar radiation to mess with. The new fangled telegraph systems suffered the most. Solar-induced power surges knocked some operators from their chairs and set fire to the paper rolls used to record dashes and dots.
Fortunately, no Carrington Effect has occurred since the whole world became electrified. But scientists worry about what might happen when a real solar tsunami hits.
It is a real danger. In 2008, the National Academies released a report on the “adverse effects of extreme space weather on modern technology — power grid outages, high-frequency communication blackouts. …” Much of the planet’s energy and communications infrastructure is just too fragile to weather a massive electromagnetic onslaught.
August 15th, 2010
Souvenirs From War – Stay Back
Many veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam brought home tales of heroism and valor and, unbeknownst to their loved ones, potentially explosive war souvenirs.
The police in Bangor, Me., received a call this month: a woman found a live hand grenade in a moving box, where it had probably sat for decades.
She believed that it belonged to her late husband, who served in the Vietnam War and probably brought it home as a keepsake.
A bomb squad was summoned to detonate it.
“These men are passing away because they’re in their 80s or 90s, and now, unfortunately, family members are unaware of the fact that they have war souvenirs,” said Sgt. Andrew Parsons of the New Hampshire State Police explosives unit.
“When they find Grandpa’s treasure chest and pull things out, lo and behold there’s a hand grenade at the bottom.”
August 14th, 2010
Chunk of original earth found
Imagine you suddenly discovered part of your umbilical cord was still attached.
Scientists just did that for the planet Earth. What’s been found is a clear sign that beneath the crust in northern Canada there is a chunk of pristine, undisturbed rock from the time when Earth was nothing but molten rock.
The evidence comes in the form of lava rocks that, themselves, are a mere 60 million years old. But these rocks contain an early Earth mixture of helium, lead and neodymium isotopes which suggest the mantle rock beneath the crust that yielded them is a virgin pocket of Earth’s original material.
That pocket had survived for 4.5 billion years under Baffin Island without being mixed by plate tectonics or erupted onto the surface.
“I was surprised that any of the (original) mantle survived,” said geoscientist Matthew Jackson of Boston University.
He is the lead author on a paper announcing the discovery in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.
”Finding a piece of the original mantle has been a holy grail. The original Earth was a big ball of magma. That’s our (planet’s) original composition.”
August 14th, 2010
Boy, 13, struck by lightning — on Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th proved suitably unlucky for one 13 year-old boy who was struck by lightning before being taken to hospital — at 13:13 on the dreaded date.
The boy, who has not been named, was treated for a minor burn after being hit along with two others at an air show in Suffolk, eastern England, a spokeswoman said.
Staff at the St Johns Ambulance service said there had been heavy rain all day before they witnessed a big flash of lightning and a loud clap of thunder over the sea off the Suffolk coast.
“We got a call that someone had been struck by lightning so we immediately sent our paramedics to the scene, followed by an ambulance,” said Rex Clarke, head of the team of St John Ambulance volunteers at the event.
August 14th, 2010
Hindenburg Omen: Why equity investors should be very afraid
Perhaps the clue is in today’s date, Friday 13, but equity investors should be very afraid if the reappearance of a US technical indicator believed to herald an imminent market crash is to be believed.
The ‘Hindenburg Omen’ is the ominously-titled list of five separate indicators linked to the New York Stock Exchange which when they occur at the same time, have historically warned of an impending crash.
Named after the tragic events of 1937 when the zeppelin airship Hindenburg dramatically exploded into flames in New Jersey, influential US market blog Zero Hedge reported over night that the five technical indicators appeared to have occurred last Tuesday.
In fact Zero Hedge describes the Hindenburg Omen as: ‘Easily the most feared technical pattern in all of chartism (for the bullishly inclined).
Those who know what it is, tend to have an atavistic reaction to its mere mention.’
August 12th, 2010
Brazil air force to record UFO sightings:
Brazil’s government has ordered its air force to officially record any sighting of unidentified flying objects.
A government decree said all military and civilian pilots as well as air traffic controllers should register any UFO sightings with the national aerospace defence command.
The information will be stored in the national archives in Rio de Janeiro. It will be made available to researchers, including those seeking evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Anything unusual that is seen, photographed or video filmed in Brazil’s air space will now have to be reported and catalogued.
But the air force said it would limit itself to collecting information, and would not be chasing UFOs.
August 12th, 2010
UK Issues Etiquette Guide:
As they prepare for the world Olympic Games in 2012, the British are doing more than mere construction of the facilities.
The British tourism agency – VisitBritain – has issued an official etiquette guide for hospitality workers including cab drivers as they seek to show off a friendlier side.
The Olympics can bring the nation billions of pounds and thousands of visitors.
Realizing that not all cultures think and act the same, a guide telling British hospitality workers how they should act around visitors from the various countries when they come to visit for the Olympic Games to be held in London in July and August of 2012.
According to the guide:
Indians don’t like to be hugged or touched by strangers.
The French can be rude and picky when it comes to restaurants.
Canadians don’t like being mistaken for Americans
Brazilians don’t like personal questions. Middle Easterners don’t like to be told what to do.
The Polish are hurt by stereotypes.
Read the whole thing!
August 11th, 2010
Man dies after bondage game with tree fails:
A COMPUTER engineer died after tying himself naked to a tree with a cord wrapped around his penis, an inquest heard.
Kevin Kirkland, 44, used a pair of makeshift rope handcuffs to attach himself to the trunk, but got trapped when a knot jammed around his wrists, The Sun said today.
Walkers discovered his body slumped against the tree the following morning near his home in Newport, Shropshire.
He was wearing just his socks and boots and had a small piece of cord wrapped around his penis.
The inquest heard how bachelor Kevin died from hypothermia and blood loss from cuts on his wrists, which were caused by his desperate attempts to escape.
August 5th, 2010
WikiLeaks posts huge encrypted file to Web:
Online whistle-blower WikiLeaks has posted a huge encrypted file named “Insurance” to its website, sparking speculation that those behind the organization may be prepared to release more classified information if authorities interfere with them.
At 1.4 gigabytes, the file is 20 times larger than the batch of 77,000 secret U.S. military documents about Afghanistan that WikiLeaks dumped onto the Web last month, and cryptographers say that the file is virtually impossible to crack — unless WikiLeaks releases the key used to encode the material.
“There’s no way that anyone has any chance of figuring out what’s in there,” Paul Kocher, president of US-based Cryptography Research, said Thursday.
That hasn’t stopped bloggers and journalists from speculating. Some say the files could be the 15,000 or so intelligence reports which WikiLeaks says it’s held back for vetting. Others, pointing to its enormous size, say it could be a compilation of the 260,000 classified diplomatic cables allegedly accessed by Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning.