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Showing posts from September, 2012

President Hadi of Yemen claims he personally signs off on each U.S. drone attack

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The president of Yemen Mansour Hadi confirmed today that he personally signs off on each drone attack made by the U.S. in Yemen. This is a complete turnaround from previous policy which was to refuse to acknowledge U.S. involvement in attacks. President Hadi was formerly vice-president under the long-ruling Saleh regime. In a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council with the support of the U.S., Saleh stepped down and turned over power to Hadi in return for immunity for him, his family, and cronies for any crimes committed during an uprising against his regime that killed many protesters. Later Hadi, supported by the U.S., ran unopposed for president. and won. Hadi warned that Yemen is still unstable and unless proper security measures are taken could descend into a civil war worse than Afghanistan. Hadi said that unrest could continue as well if an upcoming months-long national dialogue is unable to resolve the Arab Gulf state's deep political and societal rifts. Hadi noted …

South Korean pop star PSY: Gangnam Style (Video)

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"Gangnam Style" is popular Korean single by Korean musician PSY. The music video has been praised for its catchy rhythms and the unique dance moves.
As of today the music video appended had over 284 million views! This is You Tubes' most watched K-pop video so far. K-pop refers to Korean popular music a genre that includes dance, hip hop, R and B, and other pop music originating in South Korea. A popular subculture has also grown up around the music among young people globally.
Many celebrities have shared the video on the internet including: Britney Spears, and Tom Cruise. The video has even been featured in the Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times! By early this month the video had also generated "Gangnam Style" flash mobs in a number of cities around the world. Inevitably reaction and parody videos appeared including one by The Oregon Duck, another by a group from the US. Naval Academy and, last but not least, by the North Korean government. PSY brought …

China's first aircraft carrier now in service

The aircraft carrier Liaoning, named after the province where it was refitted, was formerly a Soviet vessel. A Chinese company purchased the ship from the Ukraine. For now, the ship will just be used for training with no operational aircraft on board. The Liaoning has already undergone extensive trials at sea. Premier Wen Jiabao said the ship would have "a mighty and deep significance". This significance will be mostly symbolic I expect. The U.S. for example has more aircraft carriers than the rest of the world put together and they are much larger and more sophisticated than a refitted Soviet era ship such as the Chinese have. However, the Liaoning does send a signal to other countries that China has growing ambitions and is expanding its naval strength. The new ship may also send a message to countries such as Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam over claims to disputed islands. It will take considerable time for the Chinese to learn how to operate a carrier and how to ope…

Syrian rebels clash with Lebanese army near Lebanon border

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Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels attacked a Lebanese military post near the Syrian border. After a brief gun battle the FSA rebels fled into the mountains. The Lebanese military has sent reinforcements to the area. A statement from the Lebanese Army said that the attack was the second time in less than a week that a Free Syrian Army unit had entered Lebanese territory. There were no casualties reported in the latest clash. The Lebanese Army has sent units into the mountainous area to track down the rebels. The Syrian rebels cross into Lebanon to avoid the Syrian military. The Syrian military so far has not crossed the border in pursuit, no doubt fearing an international incident. Speaker of the Lebanese parliament, Nabih Berri, said he supported moves by the Lebanese Army after the attack on the weekend in the north east by the border with Syria. In newspaper interviews Berri said: “We have said it over and over again... the army is a red line. Let it fulfill its tasks, it is just carry…

Georgians protest prisoner abuse.

The protests arose after graphic videos were published showing guards kicking and abusing prisoners. There is an election on October 1 and this scandal could hurt the chances of re-election for the pro-Western Saakashvili government. On Friday (Sept.21) thousands rallied to demand that top officials who were fired be charged and punished as well after a prison abuse scandal. President Saakashvili immediately tried to control the damage by firing his interior minister as well as the minister in charge of penitentiaries. He also moved some prison personnel to different prisons. However rallies went on for a third day. No doubt the opposition sees a golden opportunity to attack the government. The main opposition party leader Bidzina Ivanishvili is cautioning his own supporters about taking the battle to the streets. The multibillionaire politician fears a government crackdown on protests could derail the electoral process and prevent the opposition from gaining a victory. If the opposi…

One lone protester in Marseille, France, greeted by 60 riot police

In Marseille authorities were well prepared to deal with any illegal demonstrations They were determined to enforce the ban on demonstrations against the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" and cartoons mocking the Prophet in Charlie Hebdo magazine. The situation was tense and dramatic. The French government had banned demonstrations in the interests of public safety after a French magazine published insulting anti-Islam cartoons that mocked the Prophet. There had been protests already virtually around the globe against the film "Innocence of Muslims". The authorities were prepared. Well prepared. Overhead there was a police helicopter. On the ground there were sixty massed riot police ready for any violence. More than two dozen journalists had their cameras ready to capture all the action. Then Omar Djellil entered and perched on a concrete block from which he harangued passersby: “I may be the only one today but I am the spokesman of a silent majority." …

Walmart will no longer sell Kindle devices

Walmart has decided that it will no longer sell Kindle devices beyond present commitments to do so. Walmart claims the move is simply part of its marketing strategy but many think that the decision is related to concerns about competition from Amazon.
Just five years ago Walmart, the largest retail chain on the globe, did not need to worry much about the world's largest online mall, Amazon.com. Only around one quarter of Walmart customers also shopped at Amazon. However, half of Walmart customers now say they shop at Amazon as well. Amazon is emerging as a big competitor as on line purchases increase. Walmart realizes what is happening and is increasing its own online presence and e-commerce. Amazon is butting in on traditional Walmart merchandise from diapers to vacuum cleaner bags. In its latest fiscal year Amazon revenue grew 41% while Walmart grew 8%. It is not surprising that given this situation Walmart should refuse to help its competitor b…

Whose speech had highest rating at recent presidential conventions?

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It wasn't Barack Obama and certainly not Mitt Romney. So was it Bill Clinton or Clint Eastwood? No! Democratic Vice-President Joe Biden topped the ratings.
According to Nielsen ratings 14.7% of the 289.7 million in the U.S. in homes with televisions watched Joe Biden's speech at the Democratic national convention. Obama managed 13.7% and second place with Mitt Romney coming third at 12.5%. Former President Bill Clinton came in fourth with 10.9%. Clinton however was competing with the NFL opening game. Clinton had more viewers. The rather bizarre performance by actor Clint Eastwood at the Republican convention had 9.9% for his viewing audience. The three major U.S. networks had an hour coverage for each of the two conventions. Perhaps the 43.6 million people who tuned in to see and listen to Joe Biden expected him to make some historic gaffes as happens often in Biden speeches. I include three memorable gaffes by Biden. Biden certainly certainly do…

Song from Peshawar: "My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack".

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A new romantic song by Pakistani singer Sitara Younis compares the gaze of a beautiful dancing girl to a drone attack. Both are equally fatal to men. The appended video comes from the city of Peshawar. The song from a popular movie has some of the standard lyrics of love songs. There is mention of rosebuds and wine. The blaring music celebrates a temptress who has "sweet lips". Her smile is as fresh as early dew..However the repeated chorus is: "My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack". This hit for Younis follows upon another last year in which the temptress warns a drunken man to stay away: "Don't chase me, I'm an illusion, a suicide bomb." Khalid Jilanii a part time lyricist and professional driver said that singers and poets are more and more drawing upon the local situation for ideas and images. Jilani said: "It's been a hit because people like the music and the movie that it was written for. Now you hear it all the time being played …

Libyan Militant groups unapologetic about Benghazi attack

Militant group Ansar Al-Sharia claim they had no part in killing U.S. embassy staff in Benghazi but do not understand why tears are shed about the death of a diplomat. The real crime to them is the insult to Muslims in the film "Innocence of Muslims". Powerful militias of various stripes simply refuse to lay down their weapons and cede power to the central government even though the Gaddafi regime is long gone. These groups include Ansar al-Sharia. Some have accused the group of being responsible for the attack on the Bengghazi consulate that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. The group itself admits that members were present at the demonstration but deny any part in the killings. The government claims to have arrested 50 people as part of its investigation into the attack but has not said whether any are from Ansar al-Sharia. The group's name Ansar al-Sharia means roughly "patrons of Sharia law". They want to impose Sharia law in areas they …

Delaware man steals his own truck

Donald Smith II, 30, stole his own truck from a repair shop in New Castle Delaware. The truck was in the shop for repairs.

At 12:30 in the morning the Delaware State Police were called to the repair shop after the theft was reported. The owner told police that a section of fence had been torn down and a 1999 Chevrolet Siverado pickup truck was gone.

A surveillance video at the site showed that a front-end loader complete with forklifts had driven down one side of the property and then out of view. Later the loader appears again carrying the pick up truck in its forks.

After the repair shop owner left a message with Smith to inform him that his truck was gone he later received a return call from Smith who told the repair shop owner that he had retrieved his truck.

At 1:15 in the morning police received a call that a person was operating a front end loader in the parking lot of a local restaurant and tavern. The loader entered a heavily wooded area. When it was located, the loader again eva…

Loot lost by Swedes recovered at bottom of Vistula River in Poland

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Loot lost by 17 century Swedish invaders of Poland has been revealed at the bottom of the Vistula river by record low water levels. Elaborate marble stonework lies in the mud of the river bed. A huge cargo of large blocks of the marble stonework apparently sank to the bottom of the Vistula river almost four centuries ago. The blocks were likely being transported back to Sweden by Swedish invaders. Record drought and low water levels have revealed the blocks. They are are covered in a yellow foul-smelling mud. Researchers had known about the artefacts but retrieving them had been difficult as they were several feet under water. However, the task is still difficult because the water level is so low large floating cranes cannot get near enough to lift up the blocks and regular equipment sinks into the mud. Even so researchers are thankful the drought revealed the blocks. Hubert Kowalski of the University of Warsaw Museum said: "The drought helped us a lot because what had been lying…

Taliban destroy 8 jets in Camp Bastion attack

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The recent Taliban attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan destroyed eight Harrier jets. This is the worst one day loss of aircraft the U.S. has suffered since the Vietnam War. Camp Bastion located in southwestern Afghanistan is the main British Military Base in Afghanistan but it also houses U.S. and Afghan troops. The base accomodates 28,000 people and is northwest of Lashkar Gah the capital of Helmand Province. The Taliban attacked the camp on September 14th killing two U.S. marines. At the same time nine coalition personnel were wounded. The damage caused by the attack is estimated at $200 million dollars. The eight Harrier jets that were destroyed cost between $23 and $30 million dollars each. The attack was the most destructive on any base since the beginning of the Afghan mission. Approximately 15 insurgents dressed in U.S. army uniforms penetrated the base perimeter on Friday night. The insurgents not only fired at and set fire to the jets but also badly damaged three refueling s…

New negotiations for TPP at Leesburg Virginia Sept 6 to Sept. 15

A recent negotiating round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership took place in Leesburg, Virginia from September 6th through to September 15th. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement being negotiated with a total of eleven different Pacific Rim countries up to now. The negotiations began with just four countries but new countries keep joining in. As of now the following countries are invovlved: Brunei, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, U.S., Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, and Canada. The TPP is describe by Wikipedia as follows: In 2007, negotiations began for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a significantly expanded version of the agreement, encompassing a larger group of countries. These ongoing negotiations have drawn criticism and protest from the public and elected officials, in part due to the secrecy of the negotiations and a number of controversial clauses in draft agreements leaked to the public. 'Of the 26 chapters under negotiation, only …

Obama administration to spend $350 billion upgrading nuclear arsenal

The Obama administration's modernization plan includes upgrading over 5,000 nuclear warheads and refurbishing storage facilities. Delivery systems for the weapons need to be replaced. The U.S. has 5,113 nuclear warheads each of which could wipe out most of a major city. U.S. priorities are clear. While the U.S. debt is in the trillions and the country faces a fiscal cliff, it is regarded as imperative that all these weapons be retained and even upgraded. The cost estimate of slightly more than $350 billion comes from the Stimson Center. The program is to last a decade. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) places the plan on a high-risk list for fraud, waste, and abuse. No doubt politicians will applaud the scheme as producing jobs and make sure that some of the work is channeled to their own constituencies. The nuclear arsenal has been more or less neglected for two decades. Officials simply put off putting money into the aging arsenal. However each year the cost of upgrading t…

Pakistani President Asif Zardari again demands U.S. end drone attacks

After talks with special envoy to Pakistan Marc Grossman, President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, called for an end to drone strikes on militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan. A presidential spokesperson told reporters that Zardari and Grossman: ".. discussed bilateral relations, the fight against militancy, the regional situation, drug trafficking and drone attacks...(Zardari) reiterated his call for an end to the drone attacks, terming them counterproductive in the fight against militancy and in the battle of winning hearts..We need to discuss alternatives on the question of drone attacks," Zardari also said that the trust deficit between the two countries needed to be overcome to establish a long-term durable relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan. It is not at all clear how this trust relationship can be easily restored. The U.S. believes that at the very least Pakistani intelligence retains close relationships with the Haqqani network a group that mounts raids …

Obama appeals decision that blocked bill allowing indefinite detention of U.S. citizens

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The Obama administration appealed a judge's decision to block a law allowing indefinite detention less than a day after the decision was made. The law gives the government power to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without trial. Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in New York last Wednesday ( Sept. 12 ) that the law violates the U.S. constitution. Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges had brought a suit against the law claiming that it violated his rights of free speech even though Obama declared in a signing statement that his administration would never detain any American without a trial. Perhaps he would put them on his target list to be terminated by drones or other means however. Even though the judge is an Obama appointee she found the law was worded too vaguely and that Congress should define more clearly what behavior fell within the scope of the law. In Forrest's opinion the law's present wording could be applied to free speech and the practice of journalism as Hedges…

NATO air attacks kills women and girls gathering firewood

According to Afghan officials a NATO air strike has killed eight Afghan women and girls gathering firewood. At first International Security Assistance Force officials claimed that 45 insurgents were targeted but later admitted possible civilian casualties As is often the case, NATO at first claimed that the targets were insurgents and that initial reports showed that only insurgents were killed in the strike. However this report was contradicted by information coming from Afghan officials who said that victims included eight women and girls who were out gathering firewood before dawn. Once the Afghan officials contradicted the NATO report Jamie Graybeal a NATO spokesperson said that NATO took any charges of civilian deaths seriously. No doubt the charges were taken even more seriously after villagers from the Alingar district in Lagham province brought bodies of those killed to the governor's office in the provincial capital. Sarhadi Zewak, a spokesperson for the provincial gover…

Benghazi airport in Libya closed for over ten hours

The official story is that the airport was closed for over ten hours so that unmanned aerial drones could patrol overhead. Naturally the drones are not identified as U.S. drones even though everyone knows they are! The manager of the Benghazi Benina International Airport claimed that the airport was closed shortly after midnight due to security concerns. The manager said: “Benghazi airspace has been closed since 00:30 GMT for routine security checks." He did not elaborate. Some have suggested that flights were grounded to prevent suspects who might have taken part in the attack on the U.S. consulate from escaping. There have been reports that the attacks involved foreigners. But Cassie Blombaum an intelligence analyst with the UK-based Inkerman group said that the primary purpose of the closure was to enable American drone aircraft to mount patrols. One wonders why authorities would need to close the airport for this purpose. Blombaum had reported as far back as June that U.S. d…

A boss who appreciated his workers

Howard Cooper, 83, sold his Michigan car dealership in Ann Arbor in April so he could retire. However he also presented each of his 89 workers with a bonus of $1,000 for each year they had worked with him. He sold his dealership to Ohio-based Germain Motor Co. only on condition that all his employees were retained as well. Cooper's dealership had been in business for 47 years. The bonuses were a complete surprise. Employee Sandy Reagan said: ' I sat next to a person who drives the parts van and he's been here almost 28 years. He doesn't make a ton of money, but he got almost $28,000. 'I watched his face and he just said, "Oh my God," said Reagan, who has been with the company 46 years. Cooper's dealership was family-run. Cooper said of the checks: 'I wanted to thank my employees and that was a way I could do it... I hope it makes a difference in their lives like they have made in mine.' Not surprisingly Cooper received a standing ovation when…

Sensitive Documents missing from U.S. consulate after Benghazi attacks

Sensitive documents disappeared from the U.S. Benghazi consulate after the recent attack. Some of the documents contain names of Libyans working with Americans and others relate to oil contracts. The U.S. faces a huge security problem in Libya and no doubt elsewhere as well. Libyan guards were either unable or unwilling to prevent protesters from entering the compound in Benghazi and attacking the consular building. Most of the staff except for the ambassador and another staff member who died at the consul site were whisked off to a "safe house" that was supposedly in a secret location. However, that house came under sustained mortar attacks. It is clear that the attackers had knowledge of where the safe house was. More details of the attack are emerging that show how security was sorely lacking. Security sources said that the consulate had been given a "health check" not long before the raid in case something might happen on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. W…

Libya: More drones being sent together with Marines

The Obama administration is sending more military reinforcements to Libya along with warships. However, drones have been operating in Libya and also U.S.agents have been carrying out missions ever since the NATO mission ended last year. Army Lt. Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Wired's Danger Room: Yes, we have been flying CAPs [combat air patrols] since the war ended,” No doubt with the agreement of the Libyan government the U.S. has been engaged in surveillance with drones monitoring militant activity in Libya. Drones were used extensively during the NATO mission: Predators launched 145 strikes on ex-regime targets. That was twice the barrage drones unleashed in all of 2011 on tribal Pakistan, the place commonly thought of as the epicenter of U.S. drone strikes. Since the Benghazi incident more drones will be surveying Libya and an additional 50 marines are being sent although apparently most of these will be used to increase security at the U.S. embassy and …

Video: How to train you dog not to mark its territory

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The appended You Tube video has had over a million hits. This dog has never been trained to recognize that water can conduct electricity.It is quite possible that the dog may generalize and not pee to mark it territory.

This could result in some terrible neurosis and feaar of peeing to be relieved only by going to an expensive animal psychiatrist. On the other hand nature may simply force the dog's hand so to speak and it will go on peeing especially when it results in no further punishment.

Reaction to the video has been a bit delayed as far as humans are concerned. The video was posted a year ago in September it trended only this August. A number of You Tube users have copied the video.

The dog is probably a Boxer but the same result no doubt occurs if other breeds try the same thing.. The next stage will be to test this on a drunk human.

The 51 year old owner and uploader is from the U.S. A sadistic commenter on the video suggests that it could be one way to neuter your male d…

Wrong image at DNC convention shows Russian navy vessels

Democratic officials apologized yesterday for displaying an image of Russian navy vessels during a tribute to American veterans at the Democratic National Convention
On Sept. 6 an image of the Russian warships, many from the Soviet era, were projected on a giant screen at the DNC. The image was shown above 50 veterans as retired Admiral John Nathman honored U.S. veterans' contributions to the U.S. The error was spotted and Navy Times was notified and an apology was requested.
The DNC committee apologized on Wednesday (Sept 12) saying:
:"Due to vendor error, incorrect images appeared briefly on screen behind fifty-one veterans during the convention and the DNCC apologizes for this mistake...This error should not distract from the words of Admiral Nathman and others who spoke to President Obama's strong record on issues that impact those who have served our nation. We're proud of the service and sacrifice of our veterans and military families, and while they were an im…