Archive for March, 2011

U.S. Great Britain and Germany offer Japan robot assistance in cleanup

Search and rescue robot

Newscast Media — In the aftermath of the tsunami and the nuclear disaster Japan is faced with, the U.S., U.K and Germany have offered to assist Japan with the cleanup using robots, but Japan is yet to respond to the offer. These types of robots don’t only offer an overview of the situation inside a damaged plant, but can also be used to perform clean-up tasks. What they cannot do, however, is think and act for themselves.

Germany has indicated that the Kerntechnische Hilfsdienst (KHG), an independent German organization specializing in damage limitation at the country’s own nuclear power plants, could dispatch the required technology in a relatively short space of time.

In a statement, Director Walter Sturz said KHG was in contact with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and diplomatic representatives in Japan, and had sent detailed information about the robots’ capabilities.

“KHG has various items of equipment from the fields of infrastructure, decontamination, radiation protection and remote-controlled technology, especially remote-controlled manipulator vehicles which can be operated from secure locations outside the danger zone,” Sturz wrote.

Robots can go where humans find difficulty and are capable of withstanding the harsh elements emitted through nuclear pollution. They are also equipped with sensors and cameras, and can also be controlled remotely. Robots have also been used in military missions and law enforcement to disable bombs or maneuver unfriendly terrain.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm

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Controversial Palestinian intifada page removed by Facebook

Third Intifada page

Newscast Media — After more than 350,000 people signed up for a page called The Third Intifada on Facebook, and pressure from the government of Israel, Facebook removed the page calling for an uprising of Palestinians against Israel. The Third Palestinian Intifada page had called for an uprising after Muslim prayers on Friday 15 May.

“Judgment Day will be brought upon us only once the Muslims have killed all of the Jews,” a quote from the page read.

Andrew Noyes, a spokesman for Facebook said, “After administrators of the page received repeated warnings about posts that violated our policies, we removed the page.”

The managers of the page could not be reached for comment. In the information box, they described the purpose of the page as liberating Palestine. “After the Tunisian intifada and the Egyptian intifada and the Libyan intifada comes the Palestinian intifada.”

Mr. Noyes said that Facebook believes people should be able to express their opinions.

“We don’t typically take down content that speaks out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas,” he said. “However, we monitor pages that are reported to us and when they degrade to direct calls for violence or expressions of hate as occurred in this case. We have and will continue to take them down.”


2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 30, 2011 at 1:53 am

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Gaddafi’s future to be decided by leaders of the coalition forces

Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya

Newscast Media LONDON, England– Leaders for the coalition forces descended upon London to discuss life without Gaddafi in Libya, and what direction the country takes after the ousting of the embattled leader. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the conference that coalition military strikes would not stop until Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, fully complies with UN demands to end violence against civilians.

British Prime Minister David Cameron promised a brighter future for a Libya without Gaddafi.

“Today I believe should be about a new beginning for Libya – a future in which the people of Libya can determine their own destiny, free from violence and oppression, but the reason for being here today is that the Libyan people cannot reach that future on their own,” Cameron said.

The delegates included foreign ministers from 35 countries, and seven Arab states, who are meeting in the British capital, along with secretary-generals of the UN, NATO and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. They have so far agreed to set up a contact group to coordinate all international action on Libya. The British Foreign Office says the first meeting of the group will be held in Qatar, though it is unclear when this would be. The African Union has been left out, this is partly because of its failure to resolve the Ivory Coast conflict, and it is therefore obvious that they would not be able to make any progress in a country as complex as Libya.

As for exile, British foreign minister William Hague said he wasn’t “in control” as to where Gaddafi chose to flee in exile. In an interview with BBC, Hague said, “I’m not going to choose Colonel Gaddafi’s retirement home. Where he goes, if he goes, is up to him and the people of Libya to determine and we will not necessarily be in control of that.”

Gaddafi’s Legacy – The Great Man-made River Project

Great man-made river project

One undeniable fact about Gaddafi is that he embarked on the most ambitious man-made project the world has ever seen: The Great Man-made River Project. It is considered the “Eighth Wonder” of the world, and involves availing fresh water to the arid country, by extracting it from underground aquifers beneath the Libyan terrain. Gaddafi never gets enough credit for this project that very few have even heard, but one has to give credit where credit is due.When engineers went in search for oil fields in 1953 in the deserts of southern Libya, they stumbled across several oil reserves, and to their surprise, they also discovered fresh water in huge quantities beneath the earth’s crust that was thousands of years old. Among the newly-discovered water basin were: The Kufra basin, lying in the south east, near the Egyptian border, the Sirt basin, the Murzuk basin, south of Jabal Fezzan, and the Hamadah and Jufrah basins, which extend from the Qargaf Arch and Jabal Sawda to the coast. The water pipes are four meters in diameter to allow evaporation.

The project started in August 1999 through September 2009. The pipes are designed to last 50 years, and each pipe has a unique identification mark, so if anything goes wrong, engineers can quickly establish when the pipe was made. The water is used for drinking and irrigation, and the government employed 70 percent of Libyans for the project at the initial phase, and by the end of the project, it was almost entirely native Libyans who brought the $20 billion project to completion.

Upon completion, Libya established itself as a world leader in hydrological engineering, and aims to export its expertise to other African and Middle-Eastern countries facing the same problems with their water. Below is a video of the undertaking.


7 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 29, 2011 at 7:22 pm

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The thorn in Obama’s side that keeps haunting him

Newscast Media– Donald Trump said that he would make an announcement in June, about whether or not he plans to run in the 2012 presidential race. He also brought up an issue that has plagued Obama since he became president – the birth certificate.

On the TV show The View, Donald Trump recently brought it up again, and the issue has since gained momentum. On FOX and Friends, Trump once again called in a continued to pound the issue.

Trump refuses to let this issue die, and continues to ask for the birth certificate as shown in the video below.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:05 pm

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Lawmaker introduces bill banning inmates from social media

Social Media and Inmates

Newscast Media– A South Carolin lawmaker doesn’t think inmates should be allowed to use social networking sites while in prison, and is introducing a bill to make sure inmates do not have access to social networking Web sites.

“This bill would be the first bill of such in the whole country that would be a crime for any inmate while in prison to set up social media as a means of communications. If a person gets caught, he or she would have a lot of time added to what they’ve been given. It also carries a fine,” said state Rep. Wendell Gilliard, a Democrat from Charleston who is proposing the law.

Some victims and victims’ families have complained that the inmates are using popular social networking sites to stalk, harass and threaten them.

“Stalkers, batterers, gang members live to intimidate, harass and terrorize their victim, that’s what they do,” says Veronica Swain Kunz, CEO with the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network. “Anybody on Facebook can reach out and send a message to anybody that they want to, and it could be a really terrorizing thing for them.”

However, the proposed bill has already met resistance. The ACLU calls it a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech in the Constitution. Ashleigh Merchant, a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta, agrees saying that any move to restrict free speech in any form for anybody is wrong.

“A lot of times, this is an only outlet for an inmate. If a son or daughter is in prison, their family wants to have an outlet, sort of keep family members up to date on what’s going on with that inmates life – that’s still a member of that family,” she says.

Rep. Gilliard said the Republican leadership in the South Carolina State House supports his bill and he hopes that it will come up for a vote as early as next week.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 27, 2011 at 6:47 am

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The Bachmann factor in the 2012 presidential primaries

Michele Bachmann

Newscast Media–Conservative Congresswoman from Minnesota Michele Bachmann shook things up when she announced that she had formed an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2012. Bachmann certainly is a true conservative and will resonate with the Republican base, but there are some factors that need to be considered in evaluating this move.

“She’s a person who should have a platform and microphone because she’s got something to say,” said Connie Mackey, president of the conservative Family Research Council Political Action Committee.

Bachmann has high favorability with the Tea Partiers who selected her to give their party’s state of the union and whose caucus she chairs in the House. Her favorability has also helped her raise more than $13.5 million in her last race, reported the Atlantic news.

In Iowa, on Saturday, as Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and former Gov. Haley Barbour debated healthcare, Bachmann got a thunderous applause when she said, “The ultimate arrogance, in my opinion, is Obama-care. That’s why I am so absolutely confident in 2012 Americans have made the decision that we’re going to take our country back.”

However, University of Virginia Political Science Professor Larry Sabato said Bachmann does not have a “breath of experience.” Sabato also said her support is limited to just Tea Party members. According to the aforementioned Gallup poll, Bachmann ranks sixth in name recognition with her Tea Party support. Currently, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is the the undisputed and most recognizable name in the list of potential GOP candidates.

Palin detractors would rather see Bachmann run instead of Palin, because they know Bachmann can’t captivate and excite audiences to the extent that Sarah Palin can. The goal, for the opposition, is to demoralize Sarah Palin by releasing fake polls. If they can get her to believe those numbers, they will succeed in convincing her not to run. It is yet to be seen if Sarah Palin’s decision to run or not to run will be based on poll numbers her opponents are releasing to discourage her. When a country is in a crisis, there is no time to take polls or seek public opinion.

One does what’s best for one’s country regardless of whether the decision is popular or not. The president who never relied on polls to make decisions was George W. Bush, that’s why he was the most feared president around the world. He kept all leaders in check, because they knew he didn’t play.

Bachmann will gain some traction in the North, but when it comes to the southern route, she has some tough competition who are already household names like Huckabee, Ron Paul and Palin. I don’t see how she can start attacking them and hope to win over voters in the South.

So far three GOP presidential primary debates are scheduled to occur in June, and Bachmann will likely establish her committee in time to participate in the debates. Currently, there are only two potential candidates with exploratory committees – businessman Herman Cain and former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 4:27 am

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War is imminent – Gadhafi celebrated victory a little early

UN approves no-fly zone - Gadhafi on defensive

Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.–The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has voted on a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya and “all necessary measures” – code for military action – to protect civilians. It comes just a few hours after Gadhafi warned residents of Benghazi, an opposition stronghold, that his forces would show “no mercy” in an impending assault on the city. In Benghazi, the main rebel stronghold, a large crowd watching the vote on an outdoor TV projection burst into celebration as green and red fireworks filled the air, as broadcast live on the Al-Jazeera satellite TV channel. War is imminent and Gadhafi’s days may be numbered.

Gadhafi made a fatal error as hubris betrayed him; he announced victory early. What he didn’t know is the the U.S. set a trap for him to force him to reveal himself. Sun Tzu, the great Chinese General, in his book The Art of War, said:

(i) Rouse him (the enemy) and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force
him to reveal himself, so as to find his vulnerable spots. (page 34)

(ii) If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be
weak, that he may grow arrogant. (page 7)

(iii) When some troops are seen advancing and others retreating it is a lure.(page 24)

(iv) Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates
courage; simulated weakness postulates strength. (page 29)

(v) Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not
allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him. By holding out advantages to him, he
can cause the enemy to approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting damage, he
can make it possible to draw near. (page 31)

(vi) O divine art of subtetly and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible,
through you inaudible; hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands. (page32)

(vii) The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not
coming, but on own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not
attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

(viii) There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general: (page 44).

a) Recklessness, which leads to destruction.

b) Cowardice, which leads to capture.

c) A hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults.

d) A delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame.

e) Over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.

(ix) These are the five besetting sins of a general, ruinous to the conduct of war.

(x) Forestall your opponent by seizing what he holds dear, and subtly contrive to
time his arrival on the ground. (page 59) Such is the art of war. – Sun Tzu

I have previously said that if Gadhafi stays in power, eastern Libya will break away from West Libya and since airstrikes are at hand, my prediction may very well come true. This is not based on inside-knowledge, but based on my discernment and psychological analysis of the state in which Gadhafi finds himself. However, there now seems to be a high likelihood that Gadhafi will be removed from power.
You may read my prediction here.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 18, 2011 at 3:04 am

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U.N. pressured to institute no-fly zone against Libya

UN to rule of Libya no-fly zone

Newscast Media –As Gadhafi continues to plough through toward the last stronghold of rebel-held city Beghazi, the U.N is experiencing pressure to enforce a no-fly zone before it is too late. Obama had promised the opposition that America would help in any way, however, the rebels felt let down due to the perceived passivity on behalf of the West. One general said, “How many Libyans need to die before the West can intervene? Do we need to start committing suicide to raise the body-count in order for the West to act?”

Such frustration among the rebels gave Gadhafi a chance to go on the offensive. Just a few weeks ago, SKY News and other outlets reported that the rebels were less than 100 miles from Tripoli, however, the optimism faded after Gadhafi employed his airforce to demoralize the rebels. Enough collateral damage was one to push the rebels back far East and now Benghazi is all they have. Saif al-Gadhafi, the first son, said he expected total victory within 48 hours.

No room for weakness – winner takes all

Gadhafi is making a point by showing he is more man than Obama can handle. Gadhafi also knows that Obama is an indecisive president whom Hillary Clinton is very frustrated with so the more time it takes for Obama to make up his mind as to whether there are enough dead Libyans for him to act, the better for Gadhafi, because if Obama decides that a no-fly zone would be good in November, Gadhafi would have cleared Benghazi of the opposition, buried them, and no one will even remember they ever existed.

Indecision is interpreted as weakness and spinelessness by Arabs and that is exactly what Obama is projecting. If a president has to feel the hair on the back of his neck standing, or cold chills and hot flashes running up and down his spine or dip his finger in saliva and stick it out to see what direction the wind is blowing before making a decision, you can’t blame his Secretary of State who criticized him for not being able to handle a 3AM phone-call in an emergency situation. Hillary’s frustration is justified. Hillary has no room for weakness.

The rebels had counted on the West to act in their favor, and say they have been disappointed at the non-response to their pleas. Obama, Cameron, Clinton and Sarkozy had all said that Gadhafi needed to step down and allow a new government to replace him. Whether those were empty words or words with weight remains to be seen, but Gadhafi is using all the inaction by the West to his advantage and is actually succeeding. Should Gadhafi succeed militarily, he will have bragging rights of having defeated the West, and also the Arab League whom he said were “finished”. The Arab League supports the no-fly zone.

The Obama administration has now said, “We need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go beyond, a no-fly zone at this point, as the situation on the ground has evolved, and as a no-fly zone has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk.”

Gadhafi recruits mercenaries from the Great Lakes

Arabian channel Al Jazeera reports that pressure on the council mounted as Libya’s deputy UN envoy, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who has turned against Gaddafi, said “the international community has to act within the next 10 hours.”

He said he had information that Gaddafi forces, backed by hundreds of mercenaries from Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Burundi and Chad, were preparing major offensives in eastern and western Libya.

Gaddafi’s forces have inflicted several defeats on rebels in recent days and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also hinted at a hardening Washington stance when she said the United States wanted a vote by the end of Thursday.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm

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How to find your Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA)

Know your PSA

Guest article by Michael Olenik

Newscast Media — The pooling and servicing agreement (PSA) is a contract that should govern the terms under which trillions of dollars worth of equity in the land of the United States of America was flung around the world. These contracts should govern how disputes over ownership and interest in the land that was the United States of America should be resolved. Pretty simple stuff, right? I mean if I’m a millionaire big shot New York Lawyer working for big shot billionaire Wall Street Investors and banks, then I’d do my job as a lawyer to make sure the contract was right and that all the “is” were dotted and the “Ts” were crossed right?

But that’s not at all what’s happened. In our scraggly street level offices, far below the big fancy marble encased towers of American law and finance simple dirt lawyers defending homeowners started actually reading these contracts. We ask lots of questions about just what all those fancy words in their big shot contracts mean. Invariably, the big shot lawyers and the foreclosure mills tell us, “Don’t you worry about all them words you scraggly, simple dirt lawyer. Those words aren’t important to you.”

But increasingly judges recognize that the words really do mean something. Take note of the following statements from the recent Ibanez Ruling:

I concur fully in the opinion of the court, and write separately only to underscore that what is surprising about these cases is not the statement of principles articulated by the court regarding title law and the law of foreclosure in Massachusetts, but rather the utter carelessness with which the plaintiff banks documented the titles to their assets.

The type of sophisticated transactions leading up to the accumulation of the notes and mortgages in question in these cases and their securitization, and, ultimately the sale of mortgaged-backed securities, are not barred nor even burdened by the requirements of Massachusetts law. The plaintiff banks, who brought these cases to clear the titles that they acquired at their own foreclosure sales, have simply failed to prove that the underlying assignments of the mortgages that they allege (and would have) entitled them to foreclose ever existed in any legally recognizable form before they exercised the power of sale that accompanies those assignments.

The Ibanez decision underscores the fact that it is important for all of us to know and understand how the pooling and servicing agreements directly impact what is occurring in the courtroom. And for assistance with understanding the PSA and how to find it, more commentary from Michael Olenick at Legalprise:

Overview of PSAs

Securitized loans are built into securities, which happen to look and function virtually identically to bonds but are categorized and called securities because of some legal restrictions on bonds that nobody seems to know about.

The securities start with one or more investment banks, called the Underwriter (should be called the Undertaker), that seems to disappear right after cashing in lots of fees. They create a prospectus that has different parts of the security that they are proposing. Each of these parts is called a tranche. There are anywhere from a half-dozen to a couple dozen tranches. Each one is considered riskier.

Each tranche is actually a separate sub-security, that can and is traded differently, but governed by the same PSA, listed in the Prospectus. Similar tranches from multiple loans were often bundled together into something called a Collateralized Debt Obligation, or CDO. So besides the MBS there might also be one or more CDOs made up of, say, one middle tranche of each MBS. Each tranche is considered riskier, usually based a combination of the Credit Scores of the people in the tranche and the type of loans (ex: full/partial/no doc, traditional/interest-only/neg am, first or secondary lien, etc…).

CDOs were eligible for a type of “insurance” in case their price went down called a Credit Default Swap, or CDS (also known as “synthetic CDOs). There was actually no need to own the CDO to buy the insurance and many companies purchased the insurance, that paid out handsomely. [That's what the AIG bailout was for, because they didn't keep adequate reserves to pay out the insurance policies.]

Later, investors could also purchase securities made up of multiple CDOs, much the same way that CDOs were made up of tranches of multiple MBSs. These were called “CDOs squared.” Not surprisingly, there were also a few “CDOs cubed, CDOs of CDOs squared. CDOs were virtually all written offshore so little is known about who owns them, except that they were premised on the idea that since there was
collateralized mortgage debt at their base they could not collapse. Their purpose was to spread the various of risks of mortgages which, back then, meant prepayment of high interest debt and default.

Investors were actually way more obsessed with prepayment because they thought the whole country could not default; to make sure of that MBSs and all their gobbly gook were spread around the country; you can see where in the prospectus. They were almost more concerned with geographic dispersion than
credit dispersion.

One warning on those secondary filings, servicers and trusts both break them out as assets. How one loan can be reported as an asset in two places is a mystery, but considering this doesn’t even cover the CDOs and CDSs dual reporting doesn’t seem to strange. You’ll see your loan keep wandering through the financial
system, with one exception (next paragraph), right up to the present day. You can even see how much the investment banks thinks that its worth over time since they report out both original amount and fair market value.

The exception – when your loan really does disappear – is when it was eaten up by the Federal Reserve’s Toxic Loan Asset Facility, TALF. But you can look that up to and see how the government purchased your loan for full-price, when investors on the open market were only willing to pay a few cents on the dollar. If
your loan went to TALF you can find it in the spreadsheet here:…eform_talf.htm

Your loan will be in the top spreadsheet and the genuine lender in the bottom.

Michael Olenick
Legalprise, Inc.
305 Puritan Rd.
W. Palm Beach, FL 33405
Office: 561-847-3443

2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 5:43 am

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STATIM tsunami and flood shelter could be the solution to natural disasters

Newscast Media — After the Japanese deadly earthquake and tsunami, many are wondering what the safety place would be to take shelter, after an alert has been issued. Late last summer I was able to get a hold of Miguel Serrano the inventor of the tsunami shelter, through his marketing and public relations department. I posed some questions about his invention and when it would be on the market. The shelter would certainly be a handy tool for situations like Japan. It also has an air ventilation system that prevents contaminants from entering the shelter.

The new system, for which a US patent has been allowed, is an enclosable hull comprised of a series of pre-cast concrete modules, similar to large diameter concrete drainage pipes. Once assembled via gasketed joints, and a post-tensioned cables technique, it provides a water-tight environment with positive buoyancy and self-righting capability. Inside, the shelters are equipped with secure seating arrangements for as many as 50 occupants, ventilation, and various options of survival gear and supplies capable of sustaining the occupants during and after the actual event, until available rescue resources can assist. The STATIM Shelter can be considered the equivalent of an “inland” life boat. Below is the interaction we had:

Ernest: I read about your STATIM Shelter System can you tell me more about it,
since Texas is flood-prone.

Serrano: I would like to thank you for your interest in the revolutionary STATIM Shelter System. The system’s capabilities and ease of installation provide the ideal solution to applications such as yours. I will be glad to help you with the details requested.

Ernest: When will the STATIM become available for purchase?

Serrano: At the moment we are currently coordinating the production prototype development phase, so the figures and information I will provide, although accurate estimates, could be subject to changes. Once initiated, the prototype phase will be completed in approximately twelve months.

Ernest: How many people can the shelter accommodate, and what is the food storage capacity?

Serrano: Food storage capacity – The shelter system’s modular approach will allow for various length possibilities, depending on the specific mission, or need. The base offering is approximately 55 feet long, comprised of four main modules with the corresponding end caps. In this configuration the unit could
comfortably shelter a family of four with food supplies to last for an average of three months. The interior configuration can be easily modified to suit your specific need, so you can actually increase or decrease the space dedicated for supplies.

Ernest: How do you plan to transport them from point A to point B since you live in Puerto Rico?

Serrano: The concept is to produce the concrete modules regionally through a network of existing precast plants as to minimize the transportation costs of the main components. The module dimensions are compatible with conventional means of transportation such as truck and railway platforms, so delivery to the final site is easy. With the use of a boom crane, the modules are lowered and aligned on their final location, and then assembled and compressed together by means of post-tensioned cables. It is a straight forward procedure that’s done in a matter of hours. The rest of the components and accessories come packed in kit form and can be installed in one or two days. Ease of installation is one of the major features of the system, and precisely the one that makes for a globally implementable solution, even in remote locations.

Ernest: Will people be able to finance this through conventional means?

Serrano: For the moment we don’t plan to provide direct financing for the purchase, but do intend to produce the technical information necessary so the system can be qualified for conventional financing as any other permanent, concrete accessory structure or improvement.

Ernest: Mr. Serrano, thanks for the information, I look forward to seeing the STATIM on the market.

Serrano: It will be a pleasure helping you to become the best prepared resident in your area. Again, thank you for your interest.


2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 16, 2011 at 1:25 am

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U.S. sued by Guatemalans for syphilis experiments without informed consent

US infected Guatemalans with syphilis secretly

Newscast Media — Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has said that US infection of hundreds of Guatemalans with gonorrhoea and syphilis more than 60 years ago was a “crime against humanity” and a class action lawsuit has been filed against the US government.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the news was “shocking, it’s tragic, it’s reprehensible”.

The study by Prof Reverby shows that US government medical researchers infected almost 700 people in Guatemala with two sexually transmitted diseases. The patients – prisoners and people suffering mental health problems – were unaware they were being experimented upon.

The doctors used prostitutes with syphilis to infect them, or inoculation, as they tried to determine whether penicillin could prevent syphilis, not just cure it. The details of the experiment can be found here.

Lawyers for the Guatemalans and their relatives have filed a class action lawsuit, however, the Obama administration had not responded to a request for an out-of-court compensation settlement.

A similar experiment was conducted in Tuskegee, Ala., which had begun relatively innocuously in 1932 as an observation of how syphilis progressed in black male sharecroppers. In 1972, it was revealed that, even when early antibiotics were invented, doctors hid that fact from the men in order to keep studying them.

Syphilis damages the internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. Signs and symptoms of the late stage of syphilis include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia. This damage may be serious enough to cause death.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 15, 2011 at 2:12 am

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Chrisitians moblize massive relief efforts to Japan survivors

Japan earthquake aftermath

Newscast Media TOKYO, Japan — After the devastating Friday’s 8.9 earthquake that rocked Japan, it is believed that over 6,000 people have been killed, leaving millions without water, electricity and food. The earthquake sent a 20-foot high tsunami rashing into the north-eastern coast of Japan, sweeping everything within its path including houses.

Catholic aid agency Caritas Internationalis is planning its response, although this has been severely hampered by the damage to phone lines.

“Our solidarity is with our brothers and sisters at Caritas Japan and all the Japanese people,” said Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis.

“We will continue to support them at this difficult time and we will keep all of those affected by the earthquake in our prayers.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has offered prayers for the people of Japan.

He said: “The news of the horrific earthquake in Japan has shocked us all. “We await further and more detailed news with apprehension, but I want to say immediately that our hearts and our prayers go out to all who have been affected and that we as a church will do what we can to offer practical as well as spiritual support at this time of great suffering and great anxiety for so many.”

World Vision is bringing supplies to survivors and setting up safe play areas in the disaster zone to help children recover from the trauma of losing their parents or their homes.World Vision UK’s chief executive Justin Byworth said the organization was raising money to support its teams already on the ground.

He said: “It is clear this is a huge disaster. Children have lost their parents, their homes and their schools. Those that have lived through this will be at risk of being severely traumatized.

“It is vital that children in these situations can have somewhere safe to go and can be looked after by trained counsellors who can help them come to terms with all that has happened.

“Parents will be in shock too. Providing a safe place for their children means parents can concentrate on what they need to do to protect their families, knowing their children are being cared for.”

The UK has sent a team of rescuers, medics and sniffer dogs to help in the search for survivors in Ofunato, around 100 miles north of the port city of Sendai. The Salvation Army in Japan has dispatched an emergency relief team to Sendai, which was virtually destroyed by the tsunami, and is appealing for donations.

The United Nations said rescue and relief operations were being hampered by continuous aftershocks, tsunami alerts and fires and many areas along the northeast coast remain isolated and unreachable, the UN said in a statement.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 14, 2011 at 10:15 pm

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Hillary Clinton in Paris at G8 meeting to discuss the Libyan conflic

Hillary Clinton

Newscast Media PARIS, France– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Paris joining the discussion of key industrialized nations known as the G8. Clinton is also due to hold talks with representatives of the Libyan opposition council in Paris. She is scheduled to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other European officials. Last week French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the first European leader to recognize the legitimacy of the anti-Gadhafi rebels, who have claimed Benghazi as their capital in the eastern part of Libya.

Reports from Libya indicate that Gadhafi’s forces have gained some ground and successfully recaptured some of the lost cities. However, this might soon change since Britain and France have a draft resolution in hand for the UN Security Council to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. Rebels believe that Gadhafi is using as much fire power as he can just in case a no-fly zone is enforced, he would have control of most cities. Experts say the no-fly zone may be too late since Gadhafi is building on the momentum to neutralize rebel forces.

The United States is participating in planning for a no-fly zone, but has expressed doubts about the effectiveness of such a measure, and wants a clear legal mandate before taking action. British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC on Monday that the international community was closing in on a decision about military intervention against Libya – with a no-fly zone one of the leading propositions.

The countries that make up the G8 are: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia.


3 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 6:27 pm

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Libya’s government split could result into secession and two nations

A Libyan rebel hanging a pre-Gadhafi flag in Beghazi. Should Libya split into two, they might adopt it as their national flag. France gives the nod for a new government to exist.

Newscast Media PARIS, France–A few weeks ago, this writer predicted that if oppressive leaders failed to heed the cry of the oppressed by stepping down, we would see more new nations form as they seek to break away from the oppressors. France has now set the stage for a split within Libya by recognizing the anti-Gadhafi rebel group National Transition Council and plans to open an embassy in Benghazi which is West of Tripoli.

The original article I wrote about this prediction can be found here. As a way to send a bold message to Gadhafi that another government within Libya is now being acknowledged, instead of his, France became the first country to formally recognize the rebels’ newly created Interim Governing Council.

The question one must ask oneself is, why would a powerful government like France encourage the formation of a new government before Gadhafi is ousted? It is obvious that this is a contingency plan. If the rebels succeed in driving Gadhafi out of Libya, then they can form a new Libya. If however, they fail to drive him out, they can fall back on their newly-created government and break away from Gadhafi’s rule by forming their own nation. This plan for secession is the subliminal message France is sending Gadhafi, that’s why they are publicly endorsing a new government, within the existing government.

This also benefits the West in two ways: First, Gadhafi is left in a weakened state and becomes a less potent threat to the region. Second, they continue to use him as their useful puppet to pump oil. In essence they create a win-win situation where the rebels win by having a new nation, flag and national anthem, Gadhafi wins by staying in power and the West wins by benefiting from Libya’s natural resources since he will owe his existence in power to the West.

The above-described scenario is a very practical and more cost-efficient way of dealing with a tyrannical or dictatorial regime. It recently happened in Sudan and there is a possibility of it repeating itself in Libya. The cost of war is minimized by splitting the country, and the return on investment (ROI) is that the weakened leader knows he could have been removed from power, but was allowed to rule, hence he feels indebted to his foreign masters, by doing their dirty work for them. This could mean giving foreign entities access to the country’s natural resources and assets, government contracts, it could also mean foreign entities would purchase goods low rates from their useful puppet.

The weakened leader would also refrain from invading the newly-formed nation because he knows that those who weakened him would eventually oust him for good if he attempted any such move. It therefore creates someone with the appearance of being a leader, but is actually enslaved, for he cannot exercise absolute power without the fear of offending his masters who kept him in power. This mental enslavement then leaves such a leader in a perpetual state of arrested development for the rest of his life. Not only is it a setback to him, but also those who are under his rulership.

Libya now has two governments, and make no mistake, the British and the US approved this move and gave French President Nicholas Sarkozy the green light to pronounce and announce publicly that France is in support of the rebel government and recognizes its authority as the legitimate government of Libya. This will now force Gadhafi to come back to the table and negotiate.

The West could then tell Gadhafi: “Listen, we know you are power-hungry. We know you do not want to step down. Here is the deal. You get to keep the western part of Libya with Tripoli as your capital. You also get to keep your wealth and are immune from prosecution for crimes against humanity. In return, you agree to the East breaking away and forming a new nation and government with Benghazi as their capital city. The choice is yours. You can either spend your life in a West Libya with honor, or you can spend it as a refugee in a foreign land once we oust you.”

An offer like that would be too good for even a madman to refuse. For secession to be successful, the oppressed have to have a governing structure in place as proof that should they be allowed to break away from the oppressors, they can govern themselves. What we see with the National Transitional Council in Libya is a hand-picked government that was obviously approved by the US, France and Britain. Once all the backgrounds of the members in the new government checked out, it was legitimized by the announcement from Sarkozy.

Secession can be avoided if leaders realize that they do not own the countries they rule, but they are there to serve the citizens over whom they rule. Because dictatorial regimes have the inability to see the benefit of allowing a newer generation to be ushered in, they orchestrate their own demise, and at the end of their regimes they end up leaving office in disgrace. The very citizens who were once convinced that these rulers were a blessing when they first came to power, are the same ones who end up cursing these leaders as they face their impending doom.


2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 10, 2011 at 9:52 pm

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Women in Ivory Coast lead the revolution against Gbagbo

Women protest against Gbagbo

Newscast Media ABIDJAN, Cote d’Ivoire — As Libyans in North march in protest of strongman Gadhafi, in the West, women are leading the way as they stand up to Gbagbo’s dictatorial regime. The uprising was sparked from an incident last week when soldiers opened fire on a crowd of female demonstrators who were unarmed, and waving tree branches symbolizing peace.

This unprovoked attack that killed seven women, galvanized the local and international community against Gbagbo who has still refused to yield power since losing the country’s election three months ago. Most media reports are focusing on the Libyan revolt and have primarily ignored the revolt happening amongst black Africans.

The thousands of women demonstrating on Tuesday near the site of last week’s killings in the Abobo district were protected by men who had formed a wall across the mouth of a freeway by lining cars end-to-end.

Mr. Gbagbo has maintained power by continuing to pay the salaries of soldiers and key civil servants. Gbagbo who has been in power for more than a decade, has refused to step down in the West African country which is the world’s leading cocoa producer, triggering violence that has killed nearly 400 people as his troops clash with pro-Quattara rebels. African leaders have been exceptionally vocal and united in telling him to go, but he refuses to allow a peaceful transition to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of the election.

This tendency for African leaders to cling to power is what has kept a large part of the continent as third world region. Such leaders ascend not to improve lives of their citizens, but do it for the love of power, to enrich themselves and to have control over their people. Developed countries on the continent like South Africa, are fortunate to have leaders who know when it is time for them to bow out gracefully, and allow young talent to rise up, something that oppressed third world African countries can only dream about.

So far nine newspapers opposed to Mr. Gbagbo have closed, saying they could no longer withstand police harassment and constant threats of violence against their journalists.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, issued a stinging rebuke saying that “Gbagbo and his forces have shown a callous disregard for human life”.

The UN is now sending 2,000 more troops to Cote d’Ivoire to reinforce the existing peacekeeping force of 8,000 already in Cote d’Ivore, a UN official said.

“We are waiting on reinforcements of 2,000 blue helmets, and two of the three armed helicopters that we ordered have arrived. We need to do everything we can to stop someone who wants to massacre civilians from making it happen,” he said.

At this point it seems the UN has been given the nod by the US to ensure Gbagbo’s removal from power.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

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Life off the grid gains popularity as an efficient way of living in America

Laura Bush takes us into their Off The Grid Ranch w/Ann Curry

Newscast Media — In the 90s not too many people would have been willing to abandon the comforts and conveniences of living in the city and move to a rural area.

The most famous off the grid residence is George Bush’s Crawford ranch that has a very environmentally friendly heating and cooling system, and a mechanism to recapture groundwater. The Bushes installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, which uses about a quarter of the electricity that traditional heating and air-conditioning systems consume. It is also eco-friendly and sits on 1600 acres of Texas prairie land.

Today, more and more American are deciding to move to the country, and are downsizing their lifestyles. The decline in the housing sector and foreclosure-gate have also played a part in homeowners’ willingness to move back to the basics.

Off-the-grid life literally means no more electric bills, water bills and to a certain extent cable bills. To maximize living off the grid one has to be committed to making sacrifices in every area of life. The first area that experiences the transition is naturally one’s social life. In the country, the land is wide open with few neighbors as opposed to urban areas. This step requires maturity and adaptability in order for one to fully adjust to not being around as many people as one was previously accustomed to. There are people who do not handle solitude well, so this kind of life wouldn’t suit them.

The trips to important places like grocery stores, banks and gas stations will indeed be a lot longer so an off-the-grid practitioner should be an efficient organizer who plans far ahead in terms of self-sustenance. Most people who live off the grid plan months or even years ahead of time before making that quantum leap. The most important element in living off the grid is water. There are many companies that specialize in digging wells that supply all the necessary water one needs. Rain is also another important source of water for off-the-gridders, even though it is not as reliable as water from a well.

The biggest benefit is the health benefit, because most people who live off the grid have their own organic gardens that supply food all-year-around. The water is also Fluoride-free and people often raise their own free-range farm animals. Leading a less stressful life is also another advantage of living off the grid, because one has more time to reflect and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, as opposed to being caught up in the daily grind.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 3:52 am

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VIDEO Part II: Monsanto Food Wars –The Global Uprising Of The Farmers

Race for a pig patent

Newscast Media — This is the final installment of my personal research called the “Food Wars” series about genetically modified foods. Not only did Monsanto want to have a monopoly on the seeds worldwide, they also ventured into the area of animal husbandry. Monsanto surprised farmers by doing the unthinkable – they decided to do research work for a patent application related to a specific gene marker for a pig trait. Pig farmers across the world viewed this research as Monsanto’s attempt to patent pig genes.

Others speculated that it was a specific genetic code Monsanto sought to patent, and any pig that had that code would be bound by the patent. If that pig gave birth, that would be an automatic violation of Monsanto’s patent, because the pig would have reproduced copies of its DNA without Monsanto’s permission, so the pig was guilty of piracy and violation of the Intellectual Property Rights of Monsanto. Pig farmers worldwide would then have to pay Monsanto fees, royalties and fines for the above-named violations. This is something that has to be seen to be believed.

The above documentary was as result of revelations that Monsanto patent applications WO 2005/017204 and WO 2005/015989 were filed in February 2005 at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. There are more than 160 countries mentioned where the patent should be granted, such as in Europe, Russian Federation, Asia (India, China, Philippines) America (USA, Brazil, Mexico), Australia and New Zealand. The WIPO itself can only receive applications, but does not grant any patents; it will forward the applications to regional patent offices in the US, Europe or elsewhere. At this stage the patents are not granted yet, but they could be accepted for example under European and US Regulation. The patent application can be viewed here.

There was an outcry worldwide upon the revelations of the pig patent news. Across the pond, the BBC reported in this article that the European pig farmers were holding massive protests against Monsanto. These protests intensified by the day as news spread that Monsanto was attempting to patent pig genes which would affect prices of pork and pork products. Germany, one of the world’s largest consumers of sausage (bratwurst) led the way in the protests.

Among the 160-plus countries listed on the patent application, several African countries were targeted including: KENYA (KE), UGANDA (UG), TANZANIA (TZ), SUDAN (SD), ZAIRE (ZA) ZAMBIA (ZM) and ZIMBABWE (ZW) just to name a few. Monsanto is targeting the Great Lakes Region in East Africa because of the potential therein. The most remarkable thing about the list is that two countries are missing from the Great Lakes Region in Africa: Rwanda(RW) and Burundi (BI). Here is the list of targeted countries and sequence gene trait.

You see, Rwanda is one of the countries in Africa with the lowest corruption rates, and it distrusts foreign entities, so it would make sense that it also advised its neighbor Burundi to stay away from Monsanto. According to a study done by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, a report was released to measure corruption in Rwanda using the Corruption Perception Index (CPI). From a score of (0-10) with Zero being Highly Corrupt and 10 being Highly Clean, Rwanda scores an astounding 9.7 out of 10 on the CPI scale, and enjoys a Confidence Range from its citizens of 9.9 out of 10. You cannot get any better than that! See page#15 of Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report.

It finally dawned on Monsanto that they had taken their fanaticism too far. Monsanto then pulled the plug on the “pig patent” research and allegedly sold that division (Monsanto Choice Genetics) to another company. They then released this statement on their Website assuring consumers that they had backed off the pig patent project. The “Food Wars” are on, because now another company owns those controversial pig patents.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 8, 2011 at 12:01 am

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Donald Trump continues to throw his weight around for 2012

Donald Trump

Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — Donald Trump is rising to be a contender in the Republican Party but is still relatively unknown west of the Hudson River. His principles and values seem to be consistent with the conservative movement, and the he’s is not afraid to speak his mind. Trump particularly loathes what he considers China is getting away with and would like to see the US get tough with China.

“We don’t need to be free trade with a company that’s making a $300 billion profit,” Trump said, referring to the U.S. trade deficit with China. As for whether he thinks homosexuals should marry Trump said, “They should not be able to marry.”

Trump’s straight talk without sugar-coating his words is what is creating massive appeal amongst conservatives, but just like Rudi Giuliani had problems explaining to evangelicals why he wore a dress and strutted around as a drag queen, Trump will have to explain why he has been married three times. He has explained before that it is was because he over-worked himself which led to the divorces he has had.

“But one of the reasons I was divorced is because I worked very hard,” he said. “And, you know, that’s a good reason. But I worked very, very hard building up a great company. And it’s a great company.”

Trump’s values regarding marriage are also consistent with conservatives who maintain that marriage is between a man and a woman. The Defense of Marriage Act is a law that was passed on September 21, 1996 and was meant to solidify that definition, even though liberals have been fighting to change it to include gays. Here is the the text of the Defense of Marriage Act in its entirety.

When Obama ran for president, he courted every liberal group on the left, and was emphatic about fighting for gays and made several promises to them in this letter he wrote to them.

Trump’s rationale is if Obama openly supported homosexuals and won the nomination for the Democratic Party, he can openly support conservative values, and possibly win the Republican nomination.

In terms of abortion rights, nobody knows where he stands since he hasn’t yet announced whether he’ll be running, but former President George W. Bush was against abortion and didn’t hide it. At one point the Democrats led by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi were considering changing Federal policies that would favor using taxpayer money to fund abortions. Bush threatened to veto any such bill and wrote Pelosi a stern letter dated May 3, 2007.

“I believe it is the most basic duty of Government to guard the innocent. With that in mind, I will veto any legislation that weakens current Federal policies and laws on abortion, or that encourages the destruction of human life at any stage,” said President Bush in his letter to Pelosi. “I am concerned that this year the Congress may consider legislation that could substantially change Federal policies and laws on abortion, and allow taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life. I am writing to make sure that there is no misunderstanding of my views on these important issues.” Read President Bush’s letter to Nancy Pelosi here.

Trump would have to take the same stance on abortion if he expects to be taken seriously by the conservatives, and would also have to find a way to appeal to evangelicals. In addition, Trump is also unknown in the Tea Party movement, so should he decide to run, he will be at a greater disadvantage than household names like Huckabee, Palin or Romney, because while he is trying to explain what he stands for and his world view, his opponents with name recognition will be busy winning over voters who already know where they stand on important issues.

Remember, the South is responsible for the huge losses suffered by Democrats in the 2010 mid-terms, since southern states tend to be conservative, and Trump is from New York, one of the most liberal states. If Sarah Palin runs, Trump would have a tough time convincing the South that he is more conservative than Palin, since she is viewed by Southerners as one of their own, even though she is from Alaska. Texas Gov. Rick Perry even went as far as inducting and declaring her an “Honorary Texan” and awarded her a plaque in February 2010. It is a known fact that Palin undisputedly owns the South. I personally was at the award event and captured the moment in the picture below:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin being declared an Honorary Texan by Gov. Rick Pe

If Trump runs and loses the Republican nomination, it will be because he failed to gain any traction in the South. Senator Lamar Alexander doesn’t think “The Donald” has a chance in 2012. On a CNN show Alexander said, “I mean, there’s always someone like Donald Trump who runs who has absolutely no chance of winning and who is well known. He’s just famous for being famous. He may be good in business but he’s not going to be President.”


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm

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Surveillance flights over Libya stepped up by NATO

Map of Libya

Newscast Media — The US ambassador to NATO is increasing surveillance flights over Libya as the debate about imposing a “no-fly zone” over the country continues. Ambassador Ivo Daalder, said allies agreed on Monday to increase surveillance flights from 10 to 24 hours a day, an expansion that is part of contingency planning for possible military intervention in Libya beyond humanitarian efforts. The decision came as the alliance’s governing board met to discuss what unique capabilities NATO could bring to Libya.

Daalder said other ideas being considered are redeploying NATO vessels in the Mediterranean Sea, along with nearby air assets, to deal with humanitarian aid as well as establishing a command and control structure to co-ordinate relief efforts. Sophisticated long-range aircrafts that can detect planes on radar systems, are being crewed by a number of nations, conducting this mission.

Speaking from Washington, D.C., on Monday, Obama told reporters that the U.S. and its NATO allies are still considering a military response to violence in Libya and stand with the country’s people as they face “unacceptable” violence.

Earlier Monday, rebels in Libya warned that Gadhafi regime will try increasingly desperate measures if the West doesn’t intervene urgently.The appeal came after forces loyal to Gadhafi launched multiple air strikes on opposition fighters in the second day of a harsh government crackdown to thwart rebels advancing on Gadhafi’s stronghold in Tripoli.

The U.N. estimates that over 1,000 people have been killed, however, Gadhafi denies the claims and blames the media for misinforming the public. He also blames Al Qaeda for the unrest in Libya, and believes they are behind the attacks.

In an interview with France 24, Gadhafi said, “These armed terrorists in Benghazi, including members of al-Qaeda, did not have clear political demands. There is no problem here.This mediation does not exist for the moment. What we need is to get rid of these armed gangs.”


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 11:22 pm

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Gadhafi raps for Libyans to show his hip side as DJ Gadhafi in Zenga Zenga

Newscast Media — Who said dictators can’t have fun? Gadhafi transforms himself into DJ Gadhafi as he gives Libyans another rap called “Zenga Zenga.” Below is the translation of this viral video.
Zenga Zenga by DJ Gadhafi:

biet biet: every house
dar dar: every house (another word for house)
zanga zanga: every small intersection
eila el amam eila el amam: forward, forwad
thawra thawra: revolution, revolution
*mumbling* : the millions are with me, the millions of the desert
daqat saet el amal: time to work
daqat saet el zahf: time to march


3 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 11:13 pm

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