February 16, 2012
By Natalie Nicol
“Talk about a government that is out control. The only reason that want to censor on-line material is because they are scared the truth will finally reach the masses.” –KTRN
In a report published last week, members of the United Kingdom Parliament concluded that the Internet plays a major role in the radicalization of terrorists and called on the government to pressure Internet Service Providers in Britain and abroad to censor online speech. The Roots of Violent Radicalisation places the Internet ahead of prisons, universities, and religious establishments in propagating radical beliefs and ultimately recommends that the government “develop a code of practice for the removal of material which promotes violent extremism” binding ISPs.
While the Terrorism Act 2006 authorizes British law enforcement agencies to order certain material to be removed from websites, lawmakers on the Home Affairs Committee stated that “service providers themselves should be more active in monitoring the material they host.” Their report raises serious concerns that political and religious speech will be suppressed. Security expert Peter Neumann who testified before the Committee asked why websites like YouTube and Facebook can’t be as “effective at removing . . . extremist Islamist or extremist right-wing content” as they are at removing sexually explicit content or copyrighted material that violates their own terms of service.
Citing “persuasive evidence about the potential threat from extreme far-right terrorism” and lauding the recent conviction of four London men who used the Internet to plot a bombing of the London Stock Exchange, Parliament Members commended the report saying, “[it] tackles the threat from home-grown terrorism on and off line.” A spokesman for the House of Commons Home Office stated that the Committee would continue to “work closely with police and internet service providers to take Internet hate off the web.”
In an interview with the International Business Times, Trend Micro security director Rik Ferguson criticized the Committee’s recommendations and argued that making ISPs “judge, jury and executioner” imposes responsibilities on ISPs that rightfully belong to law enforcement. “Material of a political or religious nature is by definition much more difficult to define and much more difficult to police without crossing the line to impact on freedom of expression,” Ferguson stated.
The Committee issued its recommendations in the midst of reports that Google India had taken down online content deemed offensive to Indian political and religious leaders in response to a lawsuit. The Washington Post points out that Google Transparency Reports indicate that the UK removed nearly as much content as India from January to June 2011. Google complied with more than 80% of requests from the UK to remove content from its services.
February 2, 2012
“Homeland Security obviously has no sense of humor.” –KTRN
If the decomposed corpse of Marilyn Monroe is robbed from the grave, the terrorists have won.
Authorities in America take threats seriously, and when it comes to Hollywood royalty nearly 50 years past their expiration date, the feds don’t kid around. So when a would-be British tourist joked about digging up the body of famed Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe, US officials, to say the least, were not amused.
The attempts at humor were posted on the Twitter account of Leigh Van Bryan, 26, which somehow managed to make its way to the US Department of Homeland Security at the same time the British resident’s plane arrived at Los Angeles International Airport. When Van Bryan and his 24-year-old traveling companion arrived at LAX last week, feds were waiting for them.
It turns out that they didn’t think the whole grave robbing joke was that funny.
It was two tweets that had DHS riled up. The first was one in which Van Bryan joked that he was going to “destroy” America, which he explained to authorities was British slang for partying. The second message, perhaps a bit more straightforward, said that the two had plans to hang out on Hollywood Boulevard, an event that would be topped off by “diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”
That tweet, says Van Bryan, was just a joke.
The humor was lost on Homeland Security, however, and when Van Bryan and his pal Emily Bunting tried to leave LAX, they were handcuffed. Even after telling authorities that the Marilyn tweet was only a joke — and that the “destroy” quip was simply lost in translation — they had their passports confiscated.
“They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party,” Bunting tells the Daily Mail.
January 31, 2012
By: Kerri-Ann Jennings
If you’ve been exercising more, you may be suffering from the aches and pains of having overdone it at the gym. I’ve been there. Making sure your workout is challenging without overdoing it is one way to prevent muscle soreness. But research also points to some foods and beverages that can help ward off and minimize exercise-related muscle soreness, which we’ve reported on in EatingWell Magazine.
New research out of New Zealand suggests that the antioxidants in blueberries may help ward off muscle fatigue by mopping up the additional free radicals that muscles produce during exercise. Try these delicious and healthy blueberry recipes for a better workout.
Tart Cherries & Pomegranates
British researchers recently found that people who drank one ounce of concentrated cherry juice twice daily for 10 days bounced back faster from their workout (an intensive leg-resistance training session on day eight) than those who skipped the juice. The reason: The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in tart cherries — and other fruit juices like grape, pomegranate, acai, blueberry and cranberry — essentially act as natural NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin), reducing exercise-induced muscle damage.
June 30th, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Dean Praetorius & Lee Speigel
While many of these types of UFO videos can often be easily written off, the emergence of two separate recordings of the same event could give you pause.
Even more incredible is just how similar they seem. Both videos show a group of three white discs floating over the city, namely over the BBC building and Tower Bridge.
Both were taken late last week, and in one of the videos you can see at least a few people looking up at the objects, adding some credibility to the cameraman.
Whether or not there’s a better explanation is a matter of opinion at this point.
Last October, many New Yorkers were astonished to witness several alleged UFOs maneuvering in the sky above the Chelsea section of Manhattan – in the middle of the afternoon.
While the FAA received many reports about the strange objects and radar returns couldn’t explain the UFOs away, it turned out that they may have simply been a bunch of balloons that had been intended for a party north of the city. The balloons reportedly got away from the party, and were carried along by air currents that eventually brought them to the Big Apple.
Could this also explain the London UFOs? Or is it a Photoshop hoax depicting alien-type vehicles in the sky?
Scroll down to vote on whether you think these are really UFOs, or if you think they can be explained away.
April 7th, 2011
By: Douglas McIntyre
For most Americans, it is unimaginable that the U.S. could put its iconic properties on the market. But as the nation struggles to balance its balance sheet, should the federal government take a look at selling some of its most valuable assets?
It wouldn’t be the first time that a large nation has pondered taking such drastic steps in recent years. Just two years ago, the Greeks and the British probably never would have thought that some of their famed assets would hit the auction block.
But since then, Greece has been saddled with such onerous budget restrictions due to E.U. bailout guarantees that some have suggested that it sell some of its popular islands. A number of the country’s politicians are attempting to block the transactions. One of the jokes about Greece — which sadly now has some basis in reality — is that it will have to sell the Parthenon. The Greeks don’t find the joke very funny.
The British have also begun the sale of assets, which could eventually include the Royal Mail.
Asset sales by governments have a long history. A large percentage of the geographic area of the United States was acquired through the purchase of land from other governments. In the Louisiana Purchase, Napoleonic France, strapped for cash due to its wars in Europe, sold the United States land that is now part or all of 14 states for the 2010 equivalent of $219 million.
24/7 Wall St. has identified nine U.S. assets that could generate a total of $543 billion — or about a third of the annual budget deficit for the government’s current fiscal year. The list is by no means comprehensive, but shows that the U.S. has salable assets that, in some cases, are worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Each of the nine assets on this list were compared to private companies or entities that already have established public valuations. For example, to put a value on the U.S. Postal Service, 24/7 Wall St. looked at FedEx (FDX) and United Parcel Service (UPS), and to estimate a sale price for the New York Federal Reserve building, they examined nearby Wall Street real estate. We looked at cash flow and revenue figures when comparable values were not available. We determined the size and dimensions of each asset using U.S. government data, which was taken from dozens of departments and agencies.
It’s worth noting, though: While these nine sales and licensing agreements might make a big dent in a single year’s budget deficit, they wouldn’t balance the budget, and the current federal debt — the overall amount we owe — is around $14 trillion. That $543 billion is just a drop in the bigger bucket — we’d need to find many, many more assets to put on the auction block to significantly reduce the debt. But this is a huge country, and this list is just the tip of the iceberg.
1. New York Federal Reserve Building
Guesstimated price tag: $750 million
Location: Manhattan, New York
U.S. ownership: 87 years
Who should buy it: Donald Trump, SL Green, Tishman Speyer
Why it’s valuable: Location
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is located in a massive building that takes up an entire block in Manhattan’s Financial District. Construction of the building was completed in 1924. It’s 14 stories tall and features an additional five floors underground. If the bank relocated to less valuable real estate, the government could make a significant amount of money. A recent notice issued by the New York City Department of Finance estimated the building’s value for the 2011 to 2012 tax year to be $88,594,000. While this may be the value for tax purposes, a review of comparable buildings in Manhattan revealed this wold likely be significantly less than its market price. On Madison Avenue, a similar building was sold for just under $1 billion. In all likelihood, considering its location and the historical significance of the building, the government could fetch closer to $750 million from a buyer like Donald Trump or SL Green.
2. Hoover Dam
Guesstimated price tag: $415 million
U.S. ownership: 75 years
Who should buy it: Duke Power, Con Edison, Southern Company
Why it’s valuable: Hydroelectric power
The Hoover Dam includes one of the largest hydroelectric installations in the country. If a company were to purchase the structure, it would most likely do so to privatize the dam and reap the benefits from the sale of the power it generates. According to the Department of the Interior, the average annual net generation for the Hoover Dam from 1947 through 2008 was about 4.2 billion kilowatt-hours. The Energy Information Administration calculates the average retail price of a single kilowatt-hour, as of 2010, at 9.88 cents. That means the energy produced by the dam each year is worth roughly $415 million. Of course, the operators of the power plant must deal with additional, necessary costs, such as flood control. Without the benefit of a profit and loss statement for the dam, one year’s revenue is a reasonable — though quite conservative — valuation.
3. Randolph Air Force Base
Guesstimated price tag: $1 billion
Location: San Antonio, Texas
U.S. ownership: 81 years
Who should buy it: City of San Antonio
Why it’s valuable: Could be converted to a commercial airport
There are many cases of former Air Force bases being converted into commercial airports, including the fields that are now Bangor International in Maine and Southern California Logistics in the Golden State. This usually happens only after a base has been closed, but there’s no reason to believe the government wouldn’t sell an operating base in an area where it could get a premium price for it. According to the Census Bureau, San Antonio is the fourth fastest-growing city in the U.S. The metropolis also happens to have a nation-high three Air Force bases within its city limits. Randolph AFB has two substantial runways capable of supporting all but the largest jetliners. Incorporating the costs the city of San Antonio would have to sustain to upgrade facilities and build a new terminal, Randolph could be sold for as much as $1 billion.
4. Naming Rights to the Grand Canyon
Guesstimated price tag: $1 billion
U.S. ownership: Became a national monument 103 years ago
Who should buy it: Large international brand
Why it’s valuable: Brand recognition
It’s very common for large venues, like stadiums and convention centers, to sell naming rights for tens of millions of dollars. The new Citi Field in New York (formerly the Met’s Shea Stadium) sold naming rights to Citigroup for $400 million. The U.S. government would likely get much more for a major national attraction like the Grand Canyon, which has more than twice as many visitors each year as Citi Field, and has the added branding value of being a major national landmark. This trend could spread to any of the hundreds of national monuments in the U.S., such as Mount Rushmore or the Washington Monument.
Today, Kevin explains how the Wikileaks documents prove that aliens are here on earth and that we are heading towards a new world order and one world currency.
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November 17th, 2010
By: Theunis Bates
A group of former Guantanamo Bay inmates who claim British spies helped torture them will receive millions of dollars in payouts from the U.K. government.
The 10 men — some of whom are British nationals, while others arrived in the U.K. as asylum seekers — have filed a range of allegations against the British government, including that U.K. officials knew they were being illegally transferred to Guantanamo Bay but failed to prevent it. There are also allegations that British security and intelligence agents colluded in their torture and abuse while the men were held abroad.
It’s thought that ministers decided to settle after intelligence agencies warned that national security could be put at risk if secret documents detailing U.K.-U.S. cooperation on the so-called “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects were disclosed in court. Such a case would likely have taken years and cost the government tens of millions of dollars in legal fees.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke will give a statement to Parliament on the payouts, which he is expected to simply say are in the national interest, according to The Guardian. The exact amounts handed over to the suspects — some of whom are alleged to have links with the Afghan Taliban — will likely never be officially announced. But according to U.K. TV news station ITN, at least one of the men is set to receive more than $1.6 million.
Binyam Mohamed — who arrived in Britain as a refugee from Ethiopia in 1994 and converted to Islam in 2000 — is expected to receive one of the largest payments. Pakistani authorities arrested him in 2002 on suspicion of terrorism, and he claims that he was ferried between U.S.-approved torture centers in Morocco and Afghanistan before eventually arriving in Guantanamo.
He was freed in 2009, but on his return to the U.K. he alleged that British agents had interviewed him between torture sessions, making them complicit in his mistreatment. And in February, a U.K. court released a top-secret U.S. intelligence report detailing the “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” the British resident had allegedly suffered while in American custody.
Other ex-inmates in line for settlements include Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el-Banna, Richard Belmar, Omar Deghayes, Moazzam Begg and Martin Mubanga, according to The Guardian.
The payments are sure to prove controversial in the U.K., as some of the former Guantanamo inmates have allegedly called for the destruction of the British state previously. However, Shami Chakrabarti — the director of U.K. human rights organization Liberty — said, “It’s not very palatable, but there is a price to be paid for lawlessness and torture in freedom’s name. There are torture victims who were entitled to expect protection from their country,” reported the London Times.
John Sawers, head of Britain’s foreign spy service MI6, said last month that torture was “illegal and abhorrent under any circumstances, and we have nothing whatsoever to do with it.” But he added that his organization faced “dilemmas” to avoid using foreign intelligence obtained through torture.
August 6th, 2010
By: Laura Roberts
The Bio-Bug has been converted by a team of British engineers to be powered by biogas, which is produced from human waste at sewage works across the country.
They believe the car is a viable alternative to electric vehicles.
Excrement flushed down the lavatories of just 70 homes is enough to power the car for 10,000 miles – the equivalent of one average motoring year.
This conversion technology has been used in the past but the Bio-Bug is Britain’s first car to run on methane gas without its performance being reduced.
It can power a conventional two litre VW Beetle convertible to 114mph.
Mohammed Saddiq, of sustainable energy firm GENeco, which developed the prototype, claimed that drivers “won’t know the difference”.
He said: “Previously the gas hasn’t been clean enough to fuel motor vehicles without it affecting performance.
“However, through using the latest technology our Bio-Bug drives like any conventional car and what’s more it uses sustainable fuel.
“If you were to drive the car you wouldn’t know it was powered by biogas as it performs just like any conventional car. It is probably the most sustainable car around.”
The Bio-Bug is a conventional 2 litre VW Beetle convertible, which has been modified to run on both conventional fuel and compressed methane gas.
The car is started using unleaded petrol but automatically switches to methane when the engine is “up to temperature”.
If the methane tank runs out the Bio-Bug reverts back to petrol.
Around 18 million cubic metres of biogas is produced from human waste every year at Wessex Water’s sewage treatment works in Avonmouth, Bristol.
The gas is generated through anaerobic digestion – where bugs which are starved of oxygen break down biodegradable material to produce methane.
However, before the gas can be used to power vehicles it must undergo “biogas upgrading” where carbon dioxide is removed to improve performance.
The Bio-Bug does 5.3 miles per cubic metre of biogas, which means that just one sewage works could power 95,400,000 miles per year saving 19,000 tonnes of CO2.
Lord Rupert Redesdale, chairman of The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association, believes that the Bio-Bug could prove to be the future of green motoring.
He said: “This is a very exciting and forward-thinking project demonstrating the myriad benefits of anaerobic digestion.
“Biomethane cars could be just as important as electric cars, and the water regulator Ofwat should promote the generation of as much biogas as possible through sewage works in the fight against climate change.”
GENeco, which is a sustainable energy company owned by Wessex Water, plans to convert its fleet of vehicles if the Bio-Bug trial proves to be successful.
The Bio-Bug emits three tonnes of carbon dioxide in an average year whilst a conventional vehicle emits 3.5 tonnes.
However, the Bio-Bug is carbon neutral because all of its CO2 would have been released into the atmosphere anyway in the form of methane gas.
Conventional vehicles use fossil fuels, a non-renewable, finite source of energy, and the CO2 they emit would not otherwise have been released into the atmosphere.
July 30, 2010
by Robert Reid
NATO announced Friday that six more U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan, bringing the death toll for July to at least 66 and surpassing the previous month’s record as the deadliest for American forces in the nearly 9-year-old war.
In Kabul, police fired weapons into the air to disperse a crowd of angry Afghans who shouted “death to America,” hurled stones and set fire to two vehicles after an SUV, driven by U.S. contract employees, was involved in a traffic accident that killed four Afghans, according to the capital’s criminal investigations chief, Abdul Ghaafar Sayedzada.
The contractor, DynCorp International, confirmed that its employees, working on a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, were involved in an accident on the airport road. In a statement, DynCorp said that when its employees got out of their vehicle, they and other DynCorp employees, who arrived at the scene to help, were attacked by the crowd, which burned their vehicles.
“Our condolences go out to the families of those who were killed or injured,” DynCorp said. “An investigation is under way.”
People at the scene said foreigners fired shots, killing and wounding Afghan civilians. DynCorp said the contractors fired no shots and that Afghan police helped move the contractors to safety away from the crowd. Hospital officials said the deaths and injuries were caused by the traffic accident.
Afghan police, some carrying riot shields, converged on the area, firing warning shots into the air to disperse the protesters. Sayedzada said the crowd burned two foreigners’ vehicles, causing heavy black smoke to rise from the scene.
“It is our right to raise up our voice and protest when innocent Afghans are harmed,” said Azizullah, a 25-year-old student, who like many Afghans uses one name.
Ahmad Jawid, who also was at the scene, asked: “Are we not Muslims? Are we not from Afghanistan? Infidels are here and they are ruling us. Why?”
A fatal traffic accident caused by a U.S. military convoy in 2006 triggered an anti-American riot in Kabul that left at least 14 people dead and dozens injured.
A NATO statement Friday said one service member died following an insurgent attack and two others were killed in a roadside bombing the same day in southern Afghanistan. A U.S military official confirmed all three were American troops.
Earlier in the day, a U.S. military official confirmed three other American service members died in two separate blasts in southern Afghanistan on Thursday.
The six deaths raised the U.S. death toll for the month to at least 66, according to an Associated Press count. June had been the deadliest month for the U.S. with 60 deaths. There have been 264 U.S. service members killed in combat and noncombat situations so far this year in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, according to the AP.
U.S. and NATO commanders had warned casualties would rise as the international military force ramps up the war against the Taliban, especially in their southern strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 reinforcements to Afghanistan last December in a bid to turn back a resurgent Taliban.
British and Afghan troops launched a new offensive Friday in the Sayedebad area of Helmand to try to deny insurgents a base from which to launch attacks in Nad Ali and Marjah, the British military announced. Coalition and Afghan troops have sought to solidify control of Marjah after overrunning the poppy-farming community five months ago.
The American deaths this month include Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley from Kingman, Arizona, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, 25, from the Seattle area. They went missing last week in Logar province south of Kabul. McNeley’s body was recovered Sunday, and Newlove’s body was pulled from a river Wednesday evening, Afghan officials said.
Senior military officials in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the sailors were never assigned anywhere near where their bodies were found.
Newlove’s father, Joseph Newlove, told KOMO-TV in Seattle he was baffled why his son had left the relative safety of Kabul. “He’s never been out of that town. So why would he go out of that town? He wouldn’t have,” he said.
New York Times reporter David Rohde was kidnapped in Logar in 2008 while trying to make contact with a Taliban commander. Rohde and an Afghan colleague escaped in June 2009 after seven months in captivity, most spent in Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan.
Four Afghan civilians were killed and three were injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Zabul province of southern Afghanistan, provincial spokesman Mohammed Jan Rasoolyar said. When police arrived at the scene, Taliban fighters opened fire. One insurgent was killed, the spokesman said.
In Kandahar, a candidate in September’s parliamentary election escaped assassination Friday when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded, city security chief Fazil Ahmad Sherzad said. The Interior Ministry said a woman and a child were killed and another child was wounded.