Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov says a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution on Syria will pave the way for a “civil war” in the Arab country. Gatilov told Russian media on Tuesday that a draft resolution on Syria “will not help in the search for a compromise” if it is approved.
“Pushing it through is the path towards civil war,” Gatilov added.
On January 27, the UN Security Council met to consider the draft, which was presented to the UN body by Morocco and supports an Arab League plan that calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign and hand over power to a deputy to form a national unity government “with the opposition within two months.”
The United States, the United Kingdom and France have supported the new Arab League plan. Gatilov had earlier said Moscow would “not support any measure which orders Assad to leave office.”
Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said in a statement issued on January 28 that the organization had decided to “immediately stop the work of the Arab League’s mission to Syria” due to “the critical deterioration of the situation” in the country.The observer mission had been in Syria since December 26, 2011 and was tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Arab League resolution to end the unrest in the country.
The Syrian government said on Saturday Damascus “regrets the decision taken by Arabi to suspend the observer mission” and that the decision called for “foreign intervention” and encouraged “armed groups to increase violence.”
This is not the first time Russia opposes measures against the Syrian government. On January 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was strongly against the imposition of any sanctions against Damascus or the deployment of foreign troops in Syria. Lavrov made the remarks after the European Union planned new sanctions against Syria on the same day. Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011, with demonstrations being held both against and in favor of President Assad.
Damascus says “outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” are responsible for the unrest, which it says is being orchestrated from abroad. On January 11, Assad joined thousands of government supporters in the capital Damascus and said Syria will “undoubtedly triumph over foreign conspiracies.”
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas –For almost three decades, the Houston Auto Show has brought the automotive world to Texas, allowing consumers to see, touch, drive and experience the industry’s latest and greatest offerings. Over 37 manufacturers were on display at this year’s show, including Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo, MINI, Nissan and Scion.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas. — The Houston International Auto Show was held at Reliant Park last weekend, featuring domestic and foreign newly-released vehicles, with over half a million square feet of the latest vehicles from the world’s top automakers. The Houston Auto Show is the place for car enthusiasts, fun-seekers and those looking for their next set of wheels, said Tony Gullo Sr., Auto Show chairman of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association. Over the years, this Auto Show has expanded and evolved, but one thing has remained consistent; they bring the newest and most innovative vehicles from big-name manufacturers straight to Texas.
For almost three decades, the Houston Auto Show has brought the automotive world to Texas, allowing consumers to see, touch, drive and experience the industry’s latest and greatest offerings. Over 37 manufacturers were on display at this year’s show, including Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus,
Lincoln, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo, MINI, Nissan and Scion.
Newscast Media TAMPA, Fla. — After Thursday’s favorable debate performance, Gov. Mitt Romney now has his eyes locked on the Sunshine State, as he seeks to close the deal on the Jan. 31 Florida primary. Earlier in the week, it seemed that Gingrich had overtaken Romney but by Wednesday, the alternative media did something the mainstream media could not do –they stopped the Gingrich train in its tracks.
The barrage of revelations about Gingrich’s past and his dealings with fellow Republicans flooded the Internet, as article after article went viral. By the time Thursday rolled around, Romney was ahead in the polls and is now attempting to sustain the newly-found momentum.
Gingrich supporters argue that he embodies conservative values and rave about his debating skills. Romney supporters, on the other hand, believe he is just as strong, has less baggage and has a solid business background to restore America’s economy. Ultimately the choice voters have is either between a strong debater, or a strong businessman to run in the general.
During the High Renaissance, one artist emerged who transformed the arts by fusing architecture, painting and sculpture into a beautiful whole, and is responsible for Rome’s current appearance. That artist is GianLorenzo Bernini. He was offered a commission by Pope Innocent X to build the Fountain of Four Rivers in Piazza Navona, Rome.
The fountain is considered Rome’s most beautiful, but in order to build it, the tax on bread had to be raised to replenish the Vatican’s treasury. When the taxes were raised, so were the prices of bread, which displeased many Roman citizens.
An infuriated poet of the day wrote to Pope Innocent X and said: “Command those stones to turn to bread!”
Romans were more concerned about putting bread on the table than having their city adorned with marble statues.
Likewise, in the general, when voters enter the voting booths, they will be more concerned about being able to put bread on the table, than which of the two presidential candidates, Democrat or Republican, is a master debater.
by Alexey Eremenko
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — A bill introducing life sentences and mandatory chemical castration for pedophiles passed the crucial second reading in the State Duma on Friday. The draft bill, which tightens punishment for most kinds of sex crimes against minors, was introduced by the Kremlin in October and generated much debate and revision before the Friday reading.
The most widely discussed innovation is chemical castration, introduced in Russia for the first time. The bill in its current form only speaks about “mandatory medical treatment” without elaborating, but officials who worked on the draft said it includes both chemical castration and psychiatric drug treatment.
Mandatory castration will be one possible punishment for molesters who abuse children under 14, the Kremlin envoy to the parliament’s lower chamber Garri Minkh, said. Judges will have to consult with medical professionals before giving out this punishment, he added.
Convicts in other types of sex crimes involving minors will have the option of voluntarily seeking chemical castration when pleading for parole, the bill said. Dodging “mandatory medical treatment” after release on parole will be punishable with one year in jail.
The Duma also introduced life sentence as the maximum penalty for gang raping a minor, currently punishable with four to 10 years behind bars. The bill has to pass one more hearing and gain approval by the Federation Council, the parliament’s upper chamber, before being signed into law by President Dmitry Medvedev. The date for the third hearing was not set on Friday.
Ombudsman for Children Pavel Astakhov said in 2010 that 98 percent of convicted pedophiles commit new sex crimes upon release but for those who undergo chemical castration the figure is only 3 percent. He also spoke, prior to the Kremlin bill’s introduction in the Duma, about a “pedophile lobby” stalling legislation on the matter in the parliament but never named any names.
Countries that currently practice chemical castration for child molesters include Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland and South Korea, as well as several U.S. states, most notably Florida and California. But several human rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have protested its use over dire health side effects.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — Thursday’s debate was the candidates’ last chance to appeal to Florida voters, with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer as the moderator. Blitzer did get some boos when he ventured into the private lives of the candidates, who at some point unanimously agreed that the moderator needed to ask questions of substance rather than waste time with questions of no value to the voters. The audience seemed to lean toward Mitt Romney as he and Gingrich went back and forth about their finances.
However, Rick Santorum was able to shine above the rest when it came to the issue about the United States Constitution. Santorum spoke the way a man who lives outside the Matrix would speak. Just as I have always told my readers, Santorum repeated verbatim the same definition and purpose of the Constitution, I have always attempted to articulate. He stressed that it is not the Constitution that gives us our rights.
“The purpose of the constitution is to protect our God-given rights. Our rights are endowed to us by God the creator. We are the only country in the world whose God-given rights are protected,” Santorum said. He also reminded the viewers that if our rights came from the State, then they could be taken away from us.
At the end of the debate, all candidates were then asked to explain why each thought he was the most likely to beat Obama.
Ron Paul said his message was one of freedom and ending wars. “The freedom message and constitution is appealing to people of all beliefs. A constitutional foreign policy will end the wars,” Paul said.
As for Mitt Romney, he talked more about his experience in the private sector and how he was intent on reducing government while growing the economy. “This is a critical time, not an average election. Our economy is becoming weaker, government is getting bigger. Scale back the size of government. You are gonna have to bring someone who has been on the outside. I will use the experience of my life to get America right, and that experience is what will beat Obama,” Romney argued.
Newt Gingrich said he was concerned about the future generations. “I’m running for my two grandchildren: Maggie and Robert. I believe if we have a big election, it will be an American campaign [of people] who prefer a paycheck to food stamps; who prefer the Constitution to Saul Alinsky.”
Santorum said, “I wasn’t for the Wall Street bailouts like these two have been,” referring to Romney and Gingrich. “The centerpoint of my campaign is to win the industrial heart and the Reagan Democrats, and govern with the mandate that I just talked about,” he added.
Whoever wins Florida, walks away with all 50 delegates.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — A group of the Palestinian wing of the hackers who identify themselves as Anonymous, claimed responsibility for taking down Israel’s Haaretz Hebrew-language site, in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, as a cyber war between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian hackers continued.
In a Twitter message, Anonymous Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack:
“haaretz.co.il Tango Down : )”. The hackers promised to continue the attack on Israeli websites and in fact, several hours later, the website of Israel Hayom newspaper was also paralyzed, with the hackers tweeting a similar message, “israelhayom.co.il tango down!”
Also on Wednesday, the website of the Israel Festival was brought down. Pro-Palestinian hackers wrote “Free Palestine” in several parts of the site, and featured an image of the Israeli and American flag burning.
Israeli hackers have launched some counter attacks, though the Israeli government has asked them to show restraint. http://www.newscastmedia.com/haaretz.html
Categories: Weird Tags:
by Marc Bennetts
Newscast Media MOSCOW — Moscow would agree to host talks between the Syrian authorities and opposition forces in a bid to end the violence the United Nations says has so far claimed the lives of over 5,000 people, Russia’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“As concerns the venue [for talks], we would welcome any choice agreeable to all sides,” Sergei Lavrov said. “If the opposition does not want to go to Damascus, this could be Cairo – the headquarters of the Arab League – Turkey or Russia.”
Russia has been one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s staunchest supporters during the more than ten-month uprising against his regime. Damascus has rejected international criticism of its human rights record during the conflict and says some 2,000 police and members of the security forces have been killed by “terrorists and extremists.”
“Russia and Syria enjoy old, solid ties that strengthen every year,” the new Syrian ambassador to Russia, Riyad Khaddad, told a news conference in Moscow later on Wednesday. “Syria does not take one step in the international arena without consulting with its Russian colleagues.”
He also thanked Russia for its refusal “to stay silent in the face of Western exploitation of the UN Security Council” and slammed the international media for its “lies and delusions” on Syria.
Moscow vetoed in November a UN Security Council resolution harshly condemning Syria and warned against attempts to end the crisis by the use of what it called “the Libya scenario.” Russia abstained in the March 2011 UN vote on authorizing military intervention in Libya, but sharply criticized the NATO bombing raids that helped end the four-decade-long reign of Muammar Gaddafi last fall.
Russia has also spoken out against unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria by the European Union and the United States last year. On Wednesday, Lavrov again said Moscow would stonewall attempts to gain UN approval for the sanctions. Moscow has proposed its own draft UN resolution on Syria, but Western members of the Security Council have criticized it as too weak.
But one Middle East analyst suggested that Russia’s backing for Syria had ulterior motives.
“Russia’s support for Syria, it seems to me, has been agreed on with the U.S. and other leading European countries,” said Sergei Demidenko of the Moscow-based Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis.
Demidenko suggested that Western powers have no stomach for military intervention in Syria, which he said could see the rise of Islamic extremism – dangerous for both Russia and the West – throughout the region. “Russia is playing the bad guy,” he told RIA Novosti. “The West can therefore wash its hands of Syria, saying Russia and China block us at every step.”
Russia has rejected international calls for an arms embargo against Syria, saying this would leave the authorities without a source for legal arms deliveries, while doing nothing to prevent backdoor weapons shipments to opposition forces. It has also refused to explain or justify its own arms deliveries to the violence-stricken Middle East state.
Human Rights Watch’s UN advocacy director, Philippe Bolopion, criticized Russia on Tuesday for its stance.
“Russia has continued selling and delivering weapons to Syria, which is really an insult to the Syrian people who are at the receiving end of these weapons,” he said. “They should try to prevent an escalation of the crisis and instead they are really fueling the fire by sending more weapons.”
His criticism was echoed – albeit without direct mention of Russia – by Western members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday. “It is glaringly obvious that transferring weapons into a volatile and violent situation is irresponsible and will only fuel the bloodshed,” said British UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant. The head of the Rostekhnologii state corporation that controls official arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, Sergei Chemezov, said on Wednesday that Moscow faced losing its leading position in the Middle Eastand North African arms market if it ailed to maintain arms deliveries to Syria.
by Hasan Suroor
Newscast Media SAN JOSE — In what is being hailed as a “great leap forward” in China’s growing economic presence in Britain, the China Investment Corporation (CIC) has bought an 8.68 percent stake in Thames Water, Britain’s largest water and sewerage company serving about 14 million customers.
The deal is China’s first plunge into Britain’s cash-strapped utility sector amid an aggressive British campaign to woo Chinese investment, especially in the country’s creaking infrastructure. It has boosted expectations in other sectors such as wind farm energy and nuclear power plants to get a slice of the so-called “Peking Pound”.
Britons are already driving cars made in Chinese-owned factories, consuming goods made in China and may soon be riding high-speed trains built with Chinese money and expertise while London is being touted as a major offshore center of trade in China’s currency, the Yuan.
The deal, estimated to be worth up to £1 billion, followed a high-profile visit to China by Chancellor George Osborne last week to tap into China’s growing economic prowess and is being portrayed as a show of confidence in Britain’s recession-hit economy.
Mr Osborne, who met China’s Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and the heads of CIC and the ICBC bank during his visit, described it as a “significant step by China”.
“It is a vote of confidence in Britain as a place to invest and do business. This investment is good news for both the British and Chinese economies,” he said.
The CIC, a sovereign wealth fund created to invest China’s immense foreign reserves abroad, indicated that it was keen to invest in infrastructure development in Britain. Its head Lou Jiwei described Britain as “one of the most open economies in the world”.
by Marc Bennetts
Newscast Media SAN JOSE — If you’ve ever used Picnik.com, a quick online solution for picture editing in the absence of photo editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop then you might understand how convenient and practical it is to have such online application.
Google, however, will shut this service down on April 19, 2012, in addition to other less known products such as:
- Google Message Continuity; an E-mail backup product for businesses.
- Needlebase; a data management platform, (June 1).
- Social Graph API; info. about public connections for developers, (April 20).
- Urchin–online web analytics, (March 31).
The criteria Google is using to make such decisions lies in “taking a hard look at products that replicate other features,” as Google’s blog reads, and seeing if they “haven’t achieved the promise we had hoped for or can’t be properly integrated into the overall Google experience.”
As for Picnik, acquired by Google in 2010, Google will have the Picnik team “continue creating photo-editing magic across Google products.” Google stated that users who previously subscribed for the premium service, the company will send a full refund in the coming weeks.
These changes may have caused a little bit more than frowns among numerous active users to which Dave Girouard, VP of Product Management at Google stated, “Changing products that people love is hard too. But we’re excited to focus on creating a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience across Google -an experience that will change the lives of millions of people.”
YouTube is also announcing that the older profiles will automatically be converted to the new, more annoying layout. These changes will automatically take effect on March 1, 2012, and users who already haven’t switched to the newer layout will then have to reorganize their videos.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — In an effort to curb Iran’s nuclear program, the European Union agreed to place an embargo against crude oil exports from Iran, to prevent the country from funding its nuclear ambitions. In early London deals, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March climbed 56 cents to $110.42 a barrel. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for March, edged up five cents to $98.38 a barrel.
After talks held in Brussels on Monday amongst dignitaries of 27 EU nations, a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said: “There is a political agreement on an oil embargo.”
China is opposed to any kind of sanctions and has said: “Iran is also an extremely big oil supplier to China, and we hope that China’s oil imports won’t be affected, because this is needed for our development,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun told a news conference in answer to a question about whether Beijing could curtail crude from Iran under US pressure.
The deal is to be formally approved by EU foreign ministers meeting and comes as the United States and allied nations accuse Iran of developing an atomic bomb. Tehran insists its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful, civilian use.
The embargo meanwhile provides for an immediate ban on importing Iranian crude and a gradual phase-out of existing contracts between now and July 1. Greece’s dependence on Iranian oil had been holding up an accord on the timing and conditions of the embargo as the financially strapped nation relies on Iran for more than a third of its crude.
Iran sells around 20 percent of its crude to EU nations, with Greece, Spain and Italy the top buyers.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — The question of whether or not there can be a loyal and enduring interchange between the media and the political realm is not clear cut. Loyalty by both parties has to be earned and demonstrated. Some media houses are loyal to certain entities because that’s where they get funding; others are loyal due to the desire for self-preservation; while others maintain neutrality and objectivity because it is the professional thing to do.
It serves no purpose to conduct an investigative story pointing out only the faults of the subject, without highlighting the positive aspects. What good does it do for patients if a doctor shows them all the poisonous plants without showing them the edible ones?
To constantly focus on delivering one-sided news to viewers or readers by the media is like a rich man who is imperceptibly ruining himself. Yet that is what happens in the real world. There comes a point where one has to have integrity toward material, or loyalty to one’s calling.
The great Roman writer and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero, tells the story of his
friend Marcus Pacuvius who produced a play, and one particular scene received the most applause from the audience. In that particular scene, the king was approached by two men: Orestes and Pylades. Orestes was supposed to be put to death, but when the king saw both men, he did not know which one was Orestes. Pylades claimed that he was Orestes, in order that he should be the to be put to death, in the place of his friend. The real Orestes, however, continued to insist on his true identity. The entire crowd stood and cheered, although it was only a play.
Here then, was a case of nature asserting its power. People were applauding in others what they had not been given the opportunity to achieve for themselves. They admired the loyalty they saw in others that they themselves hadn’t been able to demonstrate. Yet how often does the media air stories that accentuate the positive in an individual?
We live in a world where almost everything is commercially driven and whatever it takes to get the attention of viewers is what will be broadcast. Just because a person appears to lead an honorable life filled with honorable deeds doesn’t mean he or she will be viewed by the media in an honorable light. Some say it’s the reason why many good men and women refuse to join politics because they know they cannot escape the scrutiny of the media and its propensity to act viciously toward those who do not fit a particular construct.
Another observation about the government-media complex is what the media decides is newsworthy due to the cultural spectrum of the viewers. What may be acceptable in one culture, may be considered a vice in another, therefore only by discernment, can one accurately convey the intended message, to the target audience.
On Sept. 21, 1737, Prince Frederick of Prussia who later became Frederick the Great, wrote to his close friend Voltaire, commanding him to give an account of his observations about justice in different cultures. In October that same year, Voltaire wrote back and explained that nobody is born with the idea that he must be just; but God has arranged men’s organs that at a certain stage they agree upon this truth.
He explained that since our society could not exist without the ideas of justice and injustice; God gave us the means of acquiring them. Different customs will never allow us to attach the same idea of justice to the same notions. What is a crime in one culture, may be considered a virtue in another. All societies therefore will not have the same laws, but no society will be without laws. Man therefore has been given everything needed to live in society, just as he has been given teeth to chew, a stomach to digest, and a soul to judge.
In the next eight months, there will be those who watch or read stories in the media and say it is biased. There are some who will be running for office who will charge the media as being unfair. Some might conclude that the allegiance of the corporate media is to large corporations. It is incumbent upon you the viewer or reader, in the coming months, to judge for yourself as to whether what is presented before you is empty of truths, or is pregnant with substance, as we all embark on voting for the next president.
Go to Part I – Government-Media Power Play>>
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — There has always been and will continue to be a love-hate relationship between the media and political entities. Media houses have an incredible influence in shaping perceptions of society or their target audiences. Yet government always plays its unseen hand in an attempt to regulate the flow of information or impede the spreading of information, whether it is through print, the electronic media or the spoken word.
In this article, I will attempt to elucidate my ideas and observations in pertinence to the government-media power play.
Even before media houses were at loggerheads with each other in regard to usage of copyrighted material on platforms like YouTube, Facebook and other social networks, government has always wanted to exercise a certain level of control over information. It all boils down to trust, and both the media and government, do not seem to trust each other’s intentions. During the Bush administration, there was an uproar about the Fairness Doctrine, that radio stations feared would limit the amount of content to be included in their programming. Today the big fuss is about Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that almost anyone who surfs the Internet is aware of.
During the classical era, Socrates was charged by a jury with corrupting the minds of the youth, since at the time, philosophers were virtually the media practitioners. Cicero’s political speeches caused him to be at odds with Marc Antony whose loyalists eventually executed Cicero. During the Renaissance, Savanarola, a Dominican Friar and political scholar was charged with heresy, uttering false prophecies and teaching a faulty doctrine. The Borgia pope, Alexander VI, excommunicated Savanarola, then ordered his arrest and execution. He was burnt alive on May 23, 1498, and declared a heretic.
All the conflict at the time, arose due to words that were either spoken or written. The great Latin poet by the name of Horace, captured the power of words when he wrote: “Words are more permanent than bronze.”
At the GOP debate on January 19, 2012, we heard and saw an infuriated Newt Gingrich chastise the media for what he believed was an unfair attack on his character–yet Gingrich will use the same media he abhors to communicate his message to voters in an attempt to gain their votes — hence the love-hate relationship between political entities and the media will continue.
The war dance that the media often finds itself entangled in with powerful entities, is like Father Time. Time has two aspects to it — the creative nature, meaning it takes a certain time-span to bring something new into being, and also the destructive nature, since as time goes by everything it creates is destroyed by old age. The media has the same characteristic, in that, it has the ability to define the narrative of another entity with time.
The BBC just published an article in which it reports that the broadcasting license for Iran’s Press TV has been revoked by media regulator Ofcom, and the station can no longer broadcast in the UK. Press TV channel launched in 2007 to break what Iran’s state broadcaster called a Western “stranglehold” over the world’s media. The Iranians are surprised that no other media entity is speaking up for them as they battle the British government for their broadcast license. They also claim that Ofcom is the media arm of the British Royal family.
In the US, foreign channels have had their share of hurdles in dealing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in America. This is partly because of the suspicions that arise from the government-media power play, and the American media being able to once again define its foreign competitors as having an anti-American bias. The pertinent question one should ask is whether or not loyalty exists within the media. Find out in Part II>>
Newscast Media MOSCOW—A crew member of a UTair Boeing 757 flying from Bangkok to Novosibirsk in western Siberia died as the plane was flying over China, transportation prosecutors said Friday.
Sergei Golev, 44, sustained a heart attack in the cockpit and died despite all attempts at resuscitation, a local prosecutor’s office spokeswoman said, Uralinform.ru reported. Even a cardiologist found among the passengers failed to revive him. The chief pilot attempted an emergency landing in the Chinese city of Chengdu, but abandoned it because Golev died before the jet touched down.
The incident took place on Tuesday, but was not reported before. The Investigative Committee opened a mandatory check, to be wrapped up next week.
Some media reported earlier that the Boeing was bound for Moscow and executed an emergency landing in Novosibirsk, and that Golev, though a pilot, was flying as a passenger.
But a spokeswoman for the regional transportation prosecutors told Komsomolskaya Pravda on Friday that the plane was flying to Novosibirsk and that Golev was a crew member – a reserve pilot, tasked, ironically, with replacing a crew member in case they fall ill. http://www.newscastmedia.com/pilot.html
Newscast Media BAGHDAD, Iraq — Suicide attacks, assassinations and bombings in Iraq have claimed the lives of at least 265 people and injured hundreds of others since December 18, the date the USA withdrew all but 200 of its troops from the country, according to the health and interior ministries.
The wave of attacks, carried out mainly by Sunni extremists from Al-Qaeda in Iraq against Shia communities, has alarmed many who fear the country could descend into chaos once more, with the government itself acknowledging it is not capable of ensuring security on its own.
The attacks also come as political factions are at loggerheads over how to reach a power-sharing deal. The Sunni community is complaining that it is being marginalized by the Shia-led government, which recently issued arrest warrants against Sunni Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi and other politicians for allegedly operating death squads.
Many fear the current violence could send the country back to the days of 2006-07 when Shia-Sunni conflict left thousands of people dead and millions of others displaced. A few families have already packed their bags and others are contemplating leaving.
Here is how some Iraqis are feeling:
Sultan Abdul-Latif Ibrahim, a 55-year-old father of six from the Shia Shabak minority in the northern province of Ninevah: “I lost 10 of my relatives since (the US-led invasion in) 2003… We used to live in the provincial capital, Mosul, for years with Sunnis and Christians. But in 2007 we were forced out of our houses by Sunni extremists who blew up our homes.
Since then, we have been living in a makeshift camp on the outskirts of Mosul. Last Monday (January 16) our camp was attacked by a parked car bomb, killing eight people, including six of my relatives. I wish to die now rather than later. We can’t bear the hardships we are going through every day. We, the Shia, are facing constant threats by Sunni extremists who want to eliminate us and there is no place to go. I can’t afford to move with my family to another place.”
Hassan Abdul-Mahdi, a 35-year-old Sunni businessman and father of three from Baghdad: “Iraq today is just like Iraq after the toppling of the previous regime. There is one group that wants to dominate and impose its control on the country. Today, the Shia-led government and politicians who control the security forces have started to hunt down Sunni leaders and political figures to bite them one by one using different means… I’m contemplating leaving Iraq as the situation seems to be getting worse.”
Jandak Youssif, a 46-year-old Christian from Baghdad: “The situation is getting worse day by day, and the government doesn’t care about our suffering and needs. Our economy is stagnant; illiteracy and unemployment are prevalent; decent public services are not available; and people are leaving the country due to the security situation and religious discrimination.
Christians are being attacked and no-one is campaigning for their rights. We are not seeing any improvement in any aspect of our life… My family is scattered in many parts of the world; my parents and brother are stuck in Syria waiting to be relocated to a third country. I have three sisters in Denmark, one in the Netherlands and two in Ninevah Province. Iraq is one of the richest countries in the world but we are the worst in terms of corruption, unemployment and illiteracy.”
Examples of recent violence:
January 16: Two car bombs targeted a camp for displaced Shabak in the northern province of Ninevah and a commercial area in the central province of Babil, killing 11 and wounding 21.
January 14: A bomb attack against Shia pilgrims in the southern province of Basra killed 53 and injured 130. Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack.
January 10: A wave of bombs and assassinations nationwide killed 10 people. The targets were government officials, security forces and Shia pilgrims.
January 9: Three car bombs exploded in Baghdad, killing 17 and wounding dozens.
January 5: A wave of bombings targeted Shia Muslims in Baghdad and other provinces heading on foot to the revered city of Karbala to mark the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein. Seventy-eight people were killed and more than 100 wounded.
December 22: A string of coordinated bombs tore through mainly Shia neighborhoods in Baghdad, killing 69 and injuring nearly 200. Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks.
December 18: The USA pulled the last of its combat forces out of Iraq, leaving only 200 for training and diplomatic protection.
Source: Assyrian International News Agency
Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas— As Perry decides to check out of GOP presidential race, Gingrich the candidate Perry endorsed, is having to deal with his baggage being exposed by the media. Initially conservatives gravitated toward Donald Trump when he implied that there was a possibility he could run. When Trump announced he wouldn’t run for president, conservatives channeled their support to Michele Bachmann, then when Perry stepped into the race, they shifted to him.
Meanwhile, Herman Cain started gaining traction then he became the flavor of the moment. The left-wing media, foreign and domestic, became nervous and derailed Cain’s campaign by exposing that he had a mistress. Cain did the right thing and dropped out without endorsing anybody, since he had a lot of damage-control to do in order to preserve his marriage.
Perry, Santorum and Gingrich hoped for endorsements from conservatives, but none came before the Iowa caucuses, which Romney went on to win and also swept New Hampshire by double-digits. It has since been discovered that Santorum may have won Iowa by 34 votes. Romney declared it a virtual tie and congratulated Santorum.
A few days before South Carolina, Sarah Palin said if she were voting, she would pull the lever for Newt Gingrich, yet it is now coming out that Gingrich has the same kind of baggage that Cain did. In an interview with ABC News, Gingrich’s ex-wife says he wanted them to have an open marriage but she declined, then Gingrich asked for a divorce over the phone. His ex-wife also said that Gingrich attempted to convince her to share him with his then mistress. Marianne Gingrich said she decided to go public when she heard someone trashing her on a radio program.
“Truthfully, my whole purpose was to get out there about who I was, so Newt couldn’t create me as an evil, awful person, which was starting to happen,” she said. She said when Gingrich admitted to a six-year affair with a Congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now married to Gingrich.
“And I just stared at him and he said, ‘Callista doesn’t care what I do,’” Marianne Gingrich told ABC News. “He wanted an open marriage and I refused.” You may read Gingrich’s ex-wife’s interview here. And the ABC interview here.
An open marriage is one where a man can sleep with as many women as he wishes without having to maintain his sacred vows. He also allows the wife to sleep with as many men as she wants, without being held accountable. It will be interesting to see how Christians and Evangelicals will respond now that this information has been revealed, and whether Sarah Palin will continue to support Gingrich.
While in politics this kind of lifestyle may be acceptable, in the real world there are still people to honor their sacred vows, and to be asked to look to Gingrich as a role model to become president, will not sit well with the Evangelical community.
Yet Palin did herself a disservice and lost points by belittling another woman who experienced the pain of betrayal, when she went on Sean Hannity and said, “They think by trotting out this old Gingrich divorce interview — that’s old news and it does feature this disgruntled ex- that claimed that it would destroy a campaign. All this does is, Sean, is incentivize conservatives and independents who are so sick of the politics of personal destruction because it’s played so selectively by the media.”
The older generation may not consider moral character to be important or fidelity in marriage, but there is a younger generation that is looking for role models, so as much as Palin is justified in being angry at ABC News, she should have only attacked the media and not a woman whose husband cheated on her. Palin’s gripe with ABC dates almost four years back because they played a big part in destroying her political career and defining her on their own terms. She has never been able to recover, and Gingrich would have possibly resuscitated her by making her his VP. If Romney were to get the nomination, I don’t see him picking her, because it is obvious she prefers someone else to be nominated.
The media shapes politics and is perhaps the most powerful weapon in conveying a message across, and just as they would not allow Ron Paul to win, they are brandishing everything they’ve got against Gingrich, because Romney has been chosen by the media to be the GOP nominee. Do you think it is an accident that these revelations come out at such a critical moment days before the South Carolina primary and hours before the debate? Of course not! I suspect if Newt continues in the race, more dirt will come out about him, which will only embarrass those who are supporting him.
Sarah Palin lost her influence due to the narrative shaped by the media between 2008-2011 about her. There was no way she could get into the race and overcome the misconceptions and misinformation about her. The Tea Party has been of no effect whatsoever, and has absolutely no voice in shaping the 2012 elections. The Evangelicals do not know whom they want and are like wandering strangers moving from candidate to candidate.
This is where Mitt Romney’s genius is playing in his favor. He understands the saying: “If you want to destroy a man’s dream, just give him another one.” All Romney has to do is just sit back, as different candidates are thrown to Evangelicals, whereby they chew them and spit them out. When all is said and done, the conservatives will be so disoriented, and may eventually rally around Romney, a man with no baggage, who has a clear and focused vision. http://www.newscastmedia.com/perry-out.html
Newscast Media MOSCOW— Russia is under no obligation to provide an explanation for a recent alleged delivery of arms to Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
“We don’t consider it necessary to explain or justify ourselves, as we are not violating any international agreements or any [U.N.] Security Council resolutions,” Lavrov told an annual news conference.
“We are only dealing with Syria in those items not outlawed under international law,” he added.
Lavrov’s comments followed the arrival last week of a Russian-operated ship in Syria. An official in Cyprus, where the vessel was briefly held up, said the ship was carrying ammunition.
The United States later said it had raised the issue of the ship’s cargo with Moscow. U.S. envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Tuesday that Washington had “very grave concerns about arms flows into Syria from any source.”
Russia and China in October vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have imposed an arms embargo on Syria. The UN says some 5,000 people have died since an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March.
Moscow has insisted, however, that violence in Syria is being instigated by both government forces and rebels and on Wednesday Lavrov repeated calls for the two sides to lay down their arms.
“Weapons are being supplied to fighters and extremists in Syria who are trying to exploit the protest movement to seize power…this is unacceptable and non-productive,” he said. “We consider necessary a halt to any form of violence in Syria, wherever it might originate, and the start of an all-inclusive national dialogue.”
Lavrov also slammed unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe against Syria.
“Unilateral sanctions are always an undermining of collective efforts,” he said, “be they against Iran, Syria or any other country.” http://www.newscastmedia.com/armsdelivery.html
Newscast Media ANKARA, Turkey — Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s answer to a question posed by FOX News’ Brett Baier at Monday night’s GOP debate did not sit well with Turkey’s Foreign Minister, who released a statement chastising Perry.
Perry was asked by moderator Baier whether he believes Turkey still belongs in NATO, due to the violence among women that has increased to 1,400 percent. Perry answered: “The country that is being ruled by, what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens”.
Wolf Blitzer of CNN then had a heated exchange with Perry on Tuesday, in which Perry said he stood by his remarks because he does not support a country that engages in honor killings against women.
An honor killing occurs in cultures where a family member is killed for bringing a perceived dishonor to the family name. The perceived dishonor is normally the result of one of the following behaviors, or the suspicion of such behaviors: dressing in a manner unacceptable to the family or community, wanting to terminate or prevent an arranged marriage or desiring to marry by own choice, especially if to a member of a social group deemed inappropriate, engaging in sexual acts before or outside marriage.
The United Nations News Center reports that 5,000 honor killings reported to take place every year around the world do not make the news, nor do the other myriad forms of violence inflicted on women and girls by husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles and other male – and sometimes even female – family members. Read full UN Report on honor killings.
Government figures released by Turkey reveal that of all the honor killings that happen one is reported per day, and is usually committed by a family member, ex-husband or partner against a woman.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a convention on International Women’s Day, “We know that violence against women has been a longstanding bleeding wound of the society, it is being reflected by the media as a growing issue when it is simply the hidden and unspoken truths being uncovered.” You may read the full two-page article by the Christian Science Monitor here.
Newscast Media VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI prayed that the year 2012 be lived by all under the sign of reciprocal respect and of the common good, and expressing the hope that no act of violence be committed in the name of God, Who is the Supreme Guarantor of justice and peace.
The Pope’s prayer came at the end of remarks he delivered during a special audience for the officers and functionaries of the Italian State Police detail charged with serving the area of St. Peter’s and the Vatican.
The Holy Father expressed to all his personal gratitude and that of his collaborators for what he called, “the precious and delicate work” that they do in maintaining public order, guaranteeing security and tranquility to the millions of pilgrims and tourists who visit the square and the Basilica each year.
The Pope encouraged the officers and functionaries of the Inspectorate to be authentic promoters of justice and sincere builders of peace. http://www.newscastmedia.com/pope-benedict.html
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — Before the end of 2011, while most people were preparing for the holiday season, a new security law was signed by Barack Obama that authorizes the military to arrest and indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay. Opponents of the National Defense Authorization Act say the bill is too broad and quite vague in its
The Russian Foreign Ministry said, “The law contributes to wider exterritorial use of American criminal and anti-terrorist legislation in relation to citizens of third countries.”
Russia worries that the law will result in illegitimate deprivation of liberty, tortures and cruel treatment of imprisoned persons. Russia has had a history of its spies infiltrating the US, so its concerns are legitimate.
The American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU together with humans rights groups opposed the bill hoping Obama would veto it, since they fought so hard to get him elected into office. They reasoned that future presidents could interpret it differently, and that the act is a sweeping expansion of executive power. Obama argued that the only way to ensure continued military funding was to sign the bill.
In support of the bill, Senator Lyndsey Graham said, “I don’t believe fighting al Qaeda is a law enforcement function. I believe our military should be deeply involved in fighting these guys at home and abroad.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has already developed technology that uses biometrics to filter out the bad guys. DHS claims that this particular technology is specifically for border control, prevention of identity theft, and identifying terror suspects. Watch video below:
Video by Homeland Security Demonstrating The Use of Biometrics
From the video above, it is easy to see how the National Defense Authorization Act could at some point in the future, be fused with the biometrics program, requiring travelers to get an RFID chip (Radio Frequency Identification) with all the biometrics and personal information on it. Very controversial in nature, the RFID chip is as small as a grain of rice and can be implanted on any part of the human body or stored in card. The chip is then scanned to reveal the identity of its host.
Even acts of identity theft will not go unchecked, whereby people assume false identities or break into other people’s e-mail accounts, bank accounts, or credit card records and impersonate the real owner of the e-mail account or bank records, in order to commit crimes by compromising or manipulating data that belongs to the
true owner of the account.
As shown in the video above, identity theft is one of the fastest growing and most committed crimes that the federal government is battling, and is handled by the Justice Department, while the newly-signed law, the NDAA will be handled directly by the US military. We can only speculate how much latitude future presidents will have in interpreting the new law, or implementing biometrics to complement it. The NDAA can be read or downloaded here.