Archive for April, 2013

U.S. State Dept accused of enabling Islamists Boko Haram


by Leonardo Blair

Newscast Media LAGOS—A Nigerian human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe, has accused the U.S. Department of State of enabling Islamist militant group Boko Haram by mischaracterizing their actions in that country which have resulted in the death of more than 1,000 Christians and other civilians since 2012.

Ogebe, special counsel for Justice for Jos is engaged at the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity in Nigeria and is lead author of the 2012 report by Jubilee Campaign.

He was also among a group of regional experts on Northern Nigeria and that country’s Middle Belt who drew attention to the pre-genocide occurring in those areas at a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., last Thursday.

“Sadly the latest human rights report has taken it a step further with the State Department essentially advocating the establishment of Islamic law courts in Nigeria, a demand no one else in Nigeria is making, except the jihadist terrorists themselves,” explained Ogebe.

“One did not think it possible for the U.S. position to degenerate any further but there seems to be no depth that the State Department will not sink lower still to. Now they have gone from making ransom demands to making ideological demands consistent with the theology of Boko Haram,” he added.

On Monday, CP contacted the Department of State for comment but was told the relevant spokesperson, Hilary Renner, was unavailable. The Jubilee Campaign was also expected to send the Department of State their analysis its recently released country report on Nigeria.

In the analysis, organizations associated with the campaign raised particular concern about the State Department’s new call for a Sharia appeals court.

“The message needs to be conveyed to U.S. policy makers and the Department of State that extremism in Nigeria should not be rewarded with amnesty, but that victims should be compensated and security restored,” said Ann Buwalda, executive director of the Jubilee Campaign USA, who reported a large audience at Thursday’s Congressional briefing.

At the briefing, the Honorable Tigwar Zainab Naazem, a female Muslim member of the Plateau State House of Assembly also described how Muslim settlers in Nigeria’s Plateau state control Muslim institutions and how the Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram are conducting killings in her state.

She explained that Muslim indigene constituents are discriminated against by Muslim settlers who have managed to convince the outside world that they are the ones facing discrimination.


1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 30, 2013 at 12:23 am

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Russia warns West against attempts to oust Syria’s Assad

Sergei Lavrov

Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia has warned the West against using a search for chemical weapons in Syria as an attempt to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“There are governments and outside players that believe that all means are appropriate [to be used] to overthrow the Syrian regime,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

Referring to the use of chemical weapons by foreign-backed militants on March 19 near the city of Aleppo, where 25 people were killed and 86 injured, Lavrov criticized UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his call on a UN fact-finding mission to investigate unproven claims about the use of chemical weapons in Syria in December 2012.

“This demand by the [UN] secretary-general with reference to a forgotten
episode reminds us a great deal of attempts in Syria to introduce a
practice analogous to that which existed in Iraq, when they were looking
for weapons of mass destruction there,” Lavrov added.

The Syrian government requested top UN officials to open an investigation into the March 19 incident. However some Western nations are blocking the investigation, demanding that the commission should investigate a different case of supposed chemical attack near the city of Homs in December for which the militants blame government forces.


1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

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Russian businesses open to building Africa’s infrastructure


Newscast Media MOSCOW—African states are ready to provide favorable conditions for Russian business to join infrastructure projects, Russia’s foreign minister said on Monday after talks with the chairperson of the African Union Commission in Moscow.

“We spoke about the prospects for the participation of Russian companies in major infrastructure projects on the African continent. We noted there is a demand for Russian business in Africa,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Lavrov said meetings between African leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in Durban, South Africa in March have given new impetus to African cooperation with Russian business.

How economic hitmen work

African states are interested in extending cooperation with Russia in both the social and economic spheres, and also logistics, Dlamini-Zuma said.

At the BRICS summit in Durban, the member countries set up a business council which is expected to increase partnership between the five nations. Russia’s presidential aide Yury Ushakov said previously the council’s main task would be implementing multilateral investment projects.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 5:16 pm

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Syria’s PM survives assassination attempt-bodyguard killed

Courtesy photo - Al Manar News

Newscast Media DAMASCUS—According to Al Manar news, Syrian Prime Minister Wael Al-Halqi’s envoy at Mazzeh district in Damascus, was the target of a terrorist explosion. The explosion killed the PM’s bodyguard and caused material damage to the place according to the Syrian Observatory.

Click here to see more pictures of the explosion.

Al-Manar correspondent assured that Al-Halqi was not affected by the explosion which fell near Ibn Rushed park in Mazzeh.

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Washington politicians worried about joining Obamacare exchanges

Capitol Hill - Photo by Joseph Earnest

by Napp Nazworth

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Some congressional leaders are looking at changing a part of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” that requires members of Congress and their staff to get their health insurance from the new health care exchanges. Leaders from both parties have been in talks about making the change. Aware that they could be considered hypocrites for making the change, those meetings were in private. With the revelation of those secret meetings by Politico’s John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman, those congressional leaders now appear to be backing away from the idea.

The requirement that all members of Congress and their staff get their health coverage through the exchanges was an odd quirk in the law from the beginning. The ACA requires most Americans to obtain health insurance (the individual mandate).

It expands the availability of coverage by expanding Medicaid eligibility and requiring large employers to provide coverage to their employees. The state-level health care exchanges were set up for those who are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare and do not get their coverage from their employer, either because the employer is small and not required to provide coverage, or the employer is large and decided to pay the fine (or tax) rather than provide coverage.

As The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein explains it, requiring federal employees to get coverage through the exchanges was intended to be a “gotcha” moment by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) during debates over the law’s passage. Grassley’s proposal was more of a message, essentially saying – if Democrats think this law is such a good idea, then let them have the same coverage. Rather than be embarrassed by the ploy, Democrats decided to go along with the idea and the proposal was added to the bill. Grassley originally wanted all federal employees to go on the exchanges. That was narrowed to members of Congress and their staff.

One concern of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who first raised the issue, and other members of Congress who want the requirement changed, is that the coverage will be too costly for low-level staffers, some of whom make as little as $25,000 per year.

This may not be an issue, though. The Congressional Research Service has said that the government can contribute to the premium costs of Hill staffers. The final ruling on that, though, will have to be made by the Office of Personnel Management. If the OPM agrees with the CRS, a legislative fix will not be necessary. In a Thursday statement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office said a legislative fix is not necessary.

“Senator Reid is committed to ensuring that all members of Congress and Congressional staff experience the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in exactly the same way as every other American. He believes that this is the effect of the legislation as written, and that therefore no legislative fix is necessary.

There are not now, have never been, nor will there ever be any discussions about exempting members of Congress or Congressional staff from Affordable Care Act provisions that apply to any employees of any other public or private employer offering health care,” the statement said.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 26, 2013 at 5:03 am

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WHO starts program to fight new strain of malaria


Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The WHO has announced the launch of an emergency program to tackle a strain of malaria in Southeast Asia that has proven resistant to artemisinin, the world’s most important anti-malarial drug. The program, which will cost $400 million, is designed to contain and one day eliminate what the World Health Organization (WHO) warns could prove “a serious global health threat.”

That threat comes in the form of the falciparum malaria parasite. In recent years a strain of falciparum has shown resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). That is important because ACT, in which artemisinin is combined with one of a number of other anti-malarial drugs, is at the heart of global wins over malaria over the past decade or so.

“If resistance to artemisinin emerges elsewhere – particularly in Africa, which has the world’s greatest number of malaria cases – the consequences for global health could be incalculable,” says Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO’s regional director for the Western Pacific.

Dr. Robert Newman, the director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, says that if the resistant falciparum strain were to escape the region – and currently it has been found in four countries – it could reverse the gains made worldwide against malaria.

“If history is any guide [and] if we were not to contain this problem, then it is very likely to spread elsewhere,” Newman says. “Especially risky is sub-Saharan Africa where the greatest [malaria] burden still exists. And if we were to lose the efficacy of the ACTs today, this really would be a public health catastrophe in Africa.”

As Newman points out, history has shown what can happen: in the 1950s, a strain of malaria resistant to the drug chloroquine emerged in Cambodia and spread across the world. The chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria still kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, most of them children in Africa.

Measures to prevent infection include teaching people how to avoid contracting it, providing hundreds of thousands of insecticide-treated bed nets, and spraying for mosquitoes. Efforts on the treatment side saw two people in every at-risk village trained to test residents for malaria and to provide free treatment to those who were infected.


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Israel upholds checks on tourists’ email accounts before entry

Ben Gurion airport

Newscast Media TEL AVIV—Israeli officials at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv say they have been authorized to continue demanding access to tourists’ email accounts and to deny them entry if they refuse.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein confirmed the authorization on Wednesday in a written response to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), which had asked for clarification back in June 2012.

ACRI cited the document as saying that the practice was limited to cases where “relevant suspicious signs” were evident and only done with the tourists’ “consent”.

However, the attorney general’s office noted, “It will be made clear to him that his refusal will be taken into consideration along with other relevant factors, in deciding whether to allow him entry,” the rights group added.

This follows an uproar last year when tourists were ordered to open their e-mails after hours of interrogation and two Palestinian-American women were consequently denied entry.

ACRI’s attorney for criminal justice issues condemned the policy as a “drastic invasion of privacy,” and mocked the notion of “consent” while refusal could result in expulsion.

Tourists, who are interrogated at the airport and whose email accounts are accessed by security forces, are “in no position to give free and informed consent,” Lila Margalit stated.

“Such ‘consent’ — given under threat of deportation — cannot serve as a basis for such a drastic invasion of privacy,” she said.

Source: Press TV


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 25, 2013 at 7:46 am

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Professor links prehistoric bird extinction to human colonization

Bird fossils

Newscast Media KNOXVILLE—Research by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville professor has found that about a thousand bird species became extinct following human colonization.

Research by Alison Boyer, a research assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an international team studied the extinction rates of nonperching land birds in the Pacific Islands from 700 to 3,500 years ago. Some of the birds studied included birds of prey and ducks. The team uncovered the magnitude of the extinctions and insight into how and why human impacts varied across the region. The findings are published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists had long known extinction rates were high but estimates varied from 800 to 2,000 species due to an incomplete fossil record on the islands. The researchers used fossil records from 41 Pacific islands such as Hawaii and Fiji to run an analytical technique called the Bayesian mark-recapture method. This allowed them to model gaps in the fossil record for more than 300 Pacific islands and estimate the number of unknown extinct species.

“We used information on what species are currently on the islands and what species are in the fossil record to estimate the probability of finding a species in the fossil record,” Boyer said.

Boyer and her colleagues found that nearly 983, or two-thirds, of land bird populations disappeared between the years of the first human arrival and European colonization. Disappearances are linked to overhunting by people, forest clearance and introduced species.

“We calculate that human colonization of remote Pacific islands caused the global extinction of close to a thousand species of nonperching land birds alone,” said Boyer. “However, it is likely there are more species that were affected by human presence. Sea bird and perching bird extinctions will add to this total.”

Researchers found the extinction rates differed depending on island and species characteristics. For example, larger islands had lower rates of extinction because they had larger populations of each bird species. Islands with more rainfall also had lower extinction rates because they experienced less deforestation by settlers. Bird species that were flightless and large-bodied had a higher rate of extinction because they were easier and more profitable to hunt and their lower rates of population growth inhibited recovery from overhunting or habitat loss.

“Flightless species were 33 times more likely to go extinct than those that could fly,” said Boyer. “Also, species that only populated a single island were 24 more times likely to go extinct than widespread species.”

Source: University of Tennessee at Knoxville – Whitney Heins


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

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U.S. reports on human rights abuses criticized by Russia

Human rights abuses

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Russia on Monday criticized the U. S. 2012 report on human rights and accused it of applying double standards, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Russia believes the 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which was submitted to the U.S. Congress by Secretary of State John Kerry on April 19, misused the humanitarian and human rights topics in favor of Washington’s political interests, said the ministry’s Envoy for Human Rights, Democracy, Supremacy of Law Sergei Dolgov in an online comment.

“The report suffers from the same shortcomings the previous similar reports used to do,” Dolgov said, adding the report is lack of sources behind its conclusions, including the Russia chapter.

“U.S. partners do not want to notice the large-scale work of Russian leadership to enhance political and judicial systems, reforming the law-enforcement agencies and penitentiary establishments, fighting corruption,” said the diplomat.

He stressed that no country was immune to problems in human rights sphere, the U.S. has not been an exception.

Meanwhile, Moscow was puzzled by the report’s statements that an alleged conflict in the North Caucasus between Russian federal troops and rebels, radical and criminal groups created “atmosphere of impunity” and human rights abuses.

Dolgov said in the North Caucasus, Russian law-enforcement agencies counter terrorism threat which is an essential task for the U.S. too, as the recent tragic bombing event in Boston showed.

Russia “categorically cannot accept such an openly politicized substitution of notions,” he said.

He added that Moscow expected a more objective and balanced approach of the U.S. to the human rights issues. Russia was ready for an open, constructive, equal, mutually respectful dialogue and cooperation with the U.S. on human rights problems, he noted.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 5:31 am

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New bird flu strain in China is focus of disease investigators


Newscast Media BEIJING—An international team of disease experts is investigating the emergence of a new strain of bird flu that is sickening humans, but not birds. The World Health Organization (WHO) and China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission are leading the team with specialists from Australia, Europe, Hong Kong and the United States.

“This mission is an opportunity for international influenza experts to learn from people at the frontlines of their findings on this new virus,” said Dr. Michael O’Leary, a WHO representative in China who briefed reporters on the field work the team is doing. O’Leary said the experts may offer some recommendations on prevention and control of the new strain, identified as H7N9.

The WHO representative said Chinese health authorities have demonstrated their capabilities to cope with the outbreak, which began at the end of March. The presence of the international team does not signify any heightened level of concern about the seriousness of the situation or the capability of the novel virus to become virulent and cause a pandemic.

“We have not seen easy and sustained person-to-person transmission,” O’Leary said. “This is the situation for which we are most vigilant.”

The origins and “reservoirs” of the H7N9 strain have not been identified as cases have appeared in eastern China. It is apparently not in flocks of birds, as has been the case with previous appearances of a novel virus. More than 80,000 birds have been tested so far, and fewer than 40 were positive for the virus, according to WHO. Even the birds testing positive showed no sign of sickness.

“With this different situation in animals, the presumed source of infection,” O’Leary said, “we are still uncertain about the source of illness in people.”

A total of 104 cases of H7N9 have been laboratory confirmed, according to China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (China-CDC), resulting in 21 deaths. A few disease “clusters” have occurred where an infected person has passed the virus to a family member providing care. But hundreds of other friends, neighbors and caregivers exposed to the sick people have not become ill, the basis for the conclusion that the virus has not mutated to become easily transmissible between humans.

China-CDC has made genetic information on H7N9 available to a team of U.S. and Japanese experts. Their analysis, supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), identified possible related viruses from which H7N9 might have derived. They also detected a mutation that allows greater viral reproduction in human cells, leading to infection that spreads throughout the body in humans and other mammals but does not occur in birds.

Having these insights into the genetic composition of H7N9 at this early stage is important, according to U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“Having rapid access to the viral genetic information is essential to understanding how the virus is evolving and ultimately to developing a caudate vaccine, if warranted,” Fauci said in a statement issued by NIH.

Source: State Department


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 23, 2013 at 11:39 pm

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Iran denies speculation of al-Qaeda links within the country

Rebel fighters

Newscast Media TEHRAN—Iran has denied allegations that it has ties with al-Qaeda, after Canada claimed that al-Qaeda had operations in Iran, and planned attacks inside Canada. The New York Times reported on Monday that two suspects had been arrested in connection with a plan to derail a passenger train. The Times said the two suspects had been given direction by al-Qaeda iniside Iran.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has reportedly denied the accusations according to the Tehran Times.

“This is the most ludicrous thing I have heard in my 64 years,” Salehi told reporters. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, “We are opposed to any kind of violent actions that put the lives of the people in danger. The extremist Canadian government has put the Iranophobia project on its agenda over recent years and has pursued hostile measures.”

Iran believes the hostility directed toward it by the West in unjustified, and that U.S. officials are seeking to serve their interests in the region.

The Islamic Republic has also said that the crisis in Syria can only be resolved through diplomatic means.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 9:04 pm

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Scientists discover new method for early cancer detection


Newscast Media RIGA, Latvia—After six years of painstaking research, scientists at Latvia’s Biomedical Research and Study Center in Riga are starting to see the fruits of their labor. Last year they made one of the most significant achievements in science in Latvia—they came a step closer towards inventing a new method for diagnosing gastric cancer in its initial stages before it’s too late for treatment.

They have discovered auto-antibodies that may work against tumor-associated antigens. Antibodies are proteins produced by B-cells in the human immune system. Their task is to fight viruses and bacteria. But the immune system can also produce auto-antibodies.

Auto-antibodies see the body’s own tissues as foreign and so try to neutralize them. The antibodies identify the foreign elements by way of antigens—substances that cause the immune system to react to unknown objects.

It’s these antigens that are the basis of the study, published in the “International Journal of Cancer” earlier this year.

“In the first step we tried to identify the so-called cancer immunome,” says Aija Line, the chief scientist of the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre. “Basically, it is a set of antigens that the human immune system can recognize and produce antibodies against.”

Stomach cancer is caused by the Helicobacter pylori which are commonly found in the stomach. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, gastric cancer is the fourth most widespread form of cancer in the world.

Rolando Herrero, the head of Prevention and Implementation Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, says the Latvian scientists have made an important discovery. But he says it is too early to say whether it will solve every problem.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:10 pm

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Powerful video: Atlanta-Georgia sex slaves shock onlookers

Scene from End It Movement video

by Stoyan Zaimov

Newscast Media ATLANTA—The End It Movement, a coalition of organizations fighting to end human slavery, led by Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta, has posted a powerful new video showcasing a group of sex slaves being driven around a transparent bus, prompting shocked reactions from onlookers.

“We are here to shine a light on slavery. No more bondage. No more sex trafficking. No more child laborers. No more, starting now,” the End It movement says. “Slavery still exists. We want every man, woman and child to know that there are 27 million men, women and children, just like them, living in the shadows, working as slaves, in 161 countries, including our own.”

END IT Movement Anti-Slavery/Human Trafficking Video

A man posing as one of the kidnappers shouts at the captives, as the people looking at the truck react with disbelief, shock and confusion.

“Every year, women are trafficked to major sporting events to be sold as sex slaves,” reads the side of the truck driving through the city.

While the truck with the sex slaves is a staged re-enactment, the responses from the onlookers are real – the movement says that the footage was filmed “at a national sporting event in Atlanta, Ga., on the weekend of April 6th.”

The End It Movement held its “Shine a Light on Slavery” day on April 9, where tens of thousands of people across America participated by marking or wearing the symbolic red X, the group’s logo, and encouraged others to find out more about human trafficking and what they can do to help.

“Then people have to ask – ‘what is this?’ At that point, we as a nation can raise our voice in honor of the 27,000,000 slaves. The hope of the movement [is] for everyone to know. Indifference is NOT an option,” Masi Willis, project manager of the End It Movement, previously shared with The Christian Post. The video ends with the question: “If you could see it, would you end it?”


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 22, 2013 at 8:28 pm

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NASA Successfully Launches Three Smartphone Satellites

NASA's phonesat

Newscast Media HOUSTON—While most people would discard an old smartphone and replace it with a newer version, NASA used smartphone components to build and successfully launch satellites. Three smartphones destined to become low-cost satellites rode to space Sunday aboard the maiden flight of Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.

The trio of “PhoneSats” is operating in orbit, and may prove to be the lowest-cost satellites ever flown in space. The goal of NASA’s PhoneSat mission is to determine whether a consumer-grade smartphone can be used as the main flight avionics of a capable, yet very inexpensive, satellite. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 6:54 pm

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The ignored Gosnell trial – a tragedy too awful to believe


by Janet Parshall

Newscast Media PHILADELPHIA—In a week where a terrorist attack in Boston reminds us once again of the value of each human life, another story, from Philadelphia, regarding human life, has gone woefully under reported.

The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell began on March 18th. He is currently on trial for the murder of seven babies that managed to slip past the execution’s blade and live—for a short time, at least. His specialty was late-term abortions. He is also being charged with the death of one mother.

The grand jury report was released in January of 2011. The details are almost beyond belief. According to the report, Dr. Gosnell relegated his performance of late term abortions of particularly mature babies to Sundays. On that day, the clinic was closed and he only needed one assistant – his wife.

The grand jury report says, “The files for these patients were not kept at his office. Gosnell took them home with him and disposed of them. We may never know the details of these cases. We do know, however, that during the rest of the week, Gosnell routinely aborted and killed babies in the sixth and seventh month of pregnancy. The Sunday babies must have been bigger still.” In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to perform an abortion on a baby older than 24 weeks.

During the trial, a janitor testified that he often had to pull the remains of aborted babies out of the toilets. He would open pipes, to clean them out and fetal parts, such as arms, would come pouring out. James Johnson would then bag the remains and stack them in the basement of the clinic, where they would pile up.

The family of the woman alleged to have died at Gosnell’s clinic was called to testify during the trial. Karnamaya Mongar died November 2009, after being overdosed on anesthetics. Her family testified to the filthy conditions of the clinic and the harrowing experience of seeing an ambulance take their comatose mother away to a hospital, where she would be pronounced dead.

In the midst of all the lurid details coming out during the trial, perhaps the most repulsive is the report that Gosnell actually kept aborted babies body parts. Dozens of frozen bodies were discovered in a clinic freezer, and several jars contained the amputated feet of babies. Many of the frozen bodies revealed deep gashes in the neck, giving evidence to the fact that these babies were born alive, but killed shortly after their birth.

The major media has largely ignored the trial, as it gives abortion a bad name (as if abortion ever had a good name.) But as details began to flow out from the trial, we are reminded how gruesome and deadly abortion is. The mantra of “keep abortion safe, rare and legal” has proven to be nothing more than a cheap advertizing slogan for doctors, like Gosnell, who make a fast buck while masquerading as defenders of women’s rights. Just ignore the frozen babies in the freezer.


Janet Parshall is the host of IN THE MARKET, a nationally syndicated radio program carried on the Moody Broadcasting Network.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 4:17 pm

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SEC and Ralph Lauren reach non-prosecution agreement


Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with Ralph Lauren Corporation in which the company will disgorge more than $700,000 in illicit profits and interest obtained in connection with bribes paid by a subsidiary to government officials in Argentina from 2005 to 2009. The misconduct was uncovered in an internal review undertaken by the company and promptly reported to the SEC.

The SEC has determined not to charge Ralph Lauren Corporation with violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) due to the company’s prompt reporting of the violations on its own initiative, the completeness of the information it provided, and its extensive, thorough, and real-time cooperation with the SEC’s investigation. Ralph Lauren Corporation’s cooperation saved the agency substantial time and resources ordinarily consumed in investigations of comparable conduct.

Download entire Non-Prosection Agreement here.

The NPA is the first that the SEC has entered involving FCPA misconduct. NPAs are part of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cooperation Initiative, which rewards cooperation in SEC investigations. In parallel criminal proceedings, the Justice Department entered into an NPA with Ralph Lauren Corporation in which the company will pay an $882,000 penalty.

“When they found a problem, Ralph Lauren Corporation did the right thing by immediately reporting it to the SEC and providing exceptional assistance in our investigation,” said George S. Canellos, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

“The NPA in this matter makes clear that we will confer substantial and tangible benefits on companies that respond appropriately to violations and cooperate fully with the SEC.”

Under the NPA, Ralph Lauren Corporation agreed to pay $593,000 in disgorgement and $141,845.79 in prejudgment interest. The SEC took into account the significant remedial measures undertaken by Ralph Lauren Corporation, including a comprehensive new compliance program throughout its operations.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 3:32 pm

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World achieves poverty reduction goal on schedule


Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Global extreme poverty fell to 21 percent in 2011, less than half of the poverty rate in 1990, the World Bank reports.

The World Bank said the drop in the percentage of people living in poverty means that the world has met the first Millennium Development Goal to significantly reduce hunger and poverty. Eight goals centered on improving people’s lives were set by world leaders at the United Nations in 2000 with a target date of 2015.

The achievement was cited in the bank’s 2013 World Development Indicators report, released April 18 at the start of the annual World Bank-International Monetary Fund spring meetings in Washington. The report includes the latest data available. Extreme poverty is defined as living on $1.25 or less a day.

The world also made progress toward other goals, the bank said. Girls’ primary school enrollment jumped from 86 percent of boys’ enrollment in 1990 to 97 percent in 2011. Girls’ secondary school enrollment also went up — from 78 percent of boys’ enrollment in 1990 to 96 percent in 2011, the World Bank said.

The mortality rate for children age 5 and younger fell from an average of 95 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 56 in 2011. In all, 41 countries are set to reach the child mortality reduction goal by 2015 and many other countries are stepping up progress, the bank said.

The U.S. Agency for International Development partners with the World Bank on an array of international development projects aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In his State of the Union address, President Obama made a commitment to end extreme poverty in the next two decades.

The economies of many developing countries continue to grow faster than advanced economies, the bank said. Notably, India became the world’s third-largest economy in 2011 behind the United States and China, with Japan, Germany, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Italy filling out the top 10.

Mongolia grew at the second-fastest rate, at nearly 16 percent in 2011, while the Macau administrative region of China had the highest growth rate, at 18 percent. They were followed by Lithuania, Latvia, Turkmenistan, Ghana, Qatar, Panama, China and Estonia, the bank reported.

Speaking to reporters at the start of the meetings, World Bank President Jim Young Kim said developing countries now account for more than half of global growth. He said that to end extreme poverty, developing countries need to accelerate their growth, and translate growth into jobs that will benefit all population groups. Growth also needs to be resilient to potential shocks like weather-related disasters, or food, fuel or financial crises.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 20, 2013 at 4:14 am

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World Bank, IMF G-20 debate economy in Washington D.C.

World economies meet in Washington

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—World Bank, G-20 and IMF officials have descended upon Washington D.C., to discuss the way in which to recover the global economy, which is facing the impediment of a slow European growth.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has warned the United States and many nations in Europe that they should focus more on growth and less on further trimming of national budgets ahead of their semi-annual spring encounters in Washington.

The meetings bring together the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s 20 major economies.

“We need growth, first and foremost,” Lagarde said as officials were preparing Friday for an assessment of the global economic recovery.

The IMF praised the progress made by the eurozone in lowering deficits, shoring up its bailout mechanism and forging a path towards a banking union. But the body also said a lot remained to be done to enhance citizens’ confidence in the national economies of the 17-member single-currency bloc.

“There has to be enough strengthening as well as restructuring of the banks within the eurozone,” Lagarde told reporters in Washington. “That should hopefully unleash the credit that is so much need for smaller companies and households to be able to invest again.”

EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said Friday Europe would consider slowing down its budget consolidation course as it aimed to provide more growth incentives. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble for his part warned against a let-up in efforts to follow through with fiscal reforms. Germany, he said, wanted to see binding commitments from the G20 nations to bring down public deficit and debt levels.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

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Gov. Rick Perry issues statement about West, Texas explosion

Texas Governor Rick Perry—Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media AUSTIN—Residents of a small Texas town called West are being evacuated after an explosion occurred at the West Fertizer Plant, which is about 20 miles north of Waco.

Gov. Rick Perry immediately released the following statement regarding the incident in West, Texas:

“We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident. We have also mobilized state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene.”

Several patients have been injured, but the number of fatalities has not yet been released.

In Texas, we hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, and Texans can be assured that no state is more prepared than ours to handle the full spectrum of threats, including man-made and natural disasters. Our emergency response team in Texas is second to none, an effort that speaks to the dedication and abilities of our emergency planners, the courage of those who willingly head into danger while everyone else flees, and the essential generosity of our citizens.

For more information and updates regarding the West blast, contact the following:

Family Phone Lines:

* To check on injured residents admitted to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center
call (254) 202-1100

* For family inquiries about patients at Scott & White call (888) 394-4947

* Family inquiries about patients at Providence Health Center (254) 761-7200

* Hotline for information on victims and survivors (254) 826-4115

Blood Donations:

* Carter Blood Care Center will accept donations beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday
in Waco

* Providence Hospital will hold a blood drive between 11 am-5 pm

* Scott & White Blood Donation Center accept donations starting at 8 am


* First Baptist Church of Lott has room for anyone needing a place to stay.
Call (254) 829-2321

* The Aquilla ISD opened facilities for those seeking refuge. Please report to
the gym entrance.

* Blair’s Cove Apartments in Waco offering housing to any West residents
affected by the explosion at 2425 S. 21st St. (254) 447-0810

* Latham Springs Baptist Camp is open to displaced residents at 134 Private
Road 223 in Aquilla

* The Abbott gym is open to displaced residents

* Valley mills Nursing Home has rooms available for nursing home residents if
placement is needed for any of the West nursing home residents.
Call 254-932-6288.

* First Baptist Church of Gholson is open for anyone who needs a place to stay
* Gholson ISD open for those seeking shelter

* Brazos Meadows Baptist Church at 625 S. Hewitt Dr., adjacent to
Castleman Creek Elementary will be open for anyone who needs a place to stay

* Antioch Community Church at 501 North 20th Street in Waco is open to
displaced residents

* Alliance Auto Auction between Elm Mott and West on I-35 is open to anyone
needing a place to stay

* Penelope School is open for displaced residents at 309 Avenue D

* Central United Methodist Church off Bagby Avenue near Hillcrest Baptist
Medical Center is open overnight

* American Legion Post 121 in Elm Mott is open for displaced residents

* Sykora Family Ford in West has opened for residents who need a safe place
to rest

* Town Hall Estates in Hillsboro was taking in displaced residents

Medical Assistance:

* Central Texas Urgent Care clinics in Hewitt and Lacy Lakeview will remain
open all night to treat those with minor injuries

* HEB Pharmacy in the Woodway area is staying open all night to help
accommodate West residents who may be injured and need prescriptions filled

Donation Locations:

* The Extraco Events Center will be setting up to take donations starting
tomorrow at 9:00 am. For information call 254-776-1660

* The Home Depot store in Bellmead will be open all night for those who need
plywood, generators, etc.

* Both Peas & Tots and Smarty Pants consignment stores in Waco are
accepting clothing donations in all sizes for those in West

* Axtell High School will be taking any kind of donations at the school tomorrow!
Please donate anything! The PALS organization is taking all donations and will be
accepting tomorrow and Friday during school.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expands Iran-Africa relations

Ahmadinejad in Africa—Courtesy photo Tehran Times

Newscast Media TEHRAN—On his visit to West Africa, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a stop in Ghana to discussed ways in which to expand relations with the African country. The discussions were made in Ahmadinejad’s separate meetings with the country’s president and parliament speaker in Accra on Wednesday.

In the final leg of his tour to West Africa, Ahmadinejad also discussed a number of international issues with his Ghanaian counterpart Dramani Mahama. During a joint press conference, Ahmadinejad said that Iran and Ghana have established constructive cooperation in various international organizations such as the Non-Aligned Movement and are determined to expand their relations in different areas.

The Ghanaian president said the two countries enjoy close relations and there are many areas to work together. Ahmadinejad also held a meeting with the Ghanaian parliament speaker and called for an expansion of parliamentary ties between the two countries.

During the meeting, Ahmadinejad said that the Ghanaian people are the pioneers of fight against colonialism, praising the African country for its rich culture. Ahmadinejad who led a high-level delegation to Africa started his three-leg tour on April 14, visited two other West African countries of Benin and Niger and signed several documents of cooperation.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 17, 2013 at 10:44 pm

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