cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16

12.18.2009

bankers, trafficking, porn and dead communists

1. Nauru - the island that roared

Anna Arutunyan

Few people have ever heard of Nauru, but the world's smallest island nation is big news in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The eight-mile long Pacific Island (population: 10,000 and shrinking) has become the fourth state to officially recognise the breakaway Georgian republics, joining Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela in putting the pair on the map.With Nauru's economy constipated by the collapse of a phosphate mining industry based on vast stacks of calcified seagull droppings, a report of a possible $50 million aid package from Russia surfaced in Kommersant.

In 2002, Nauru accepted $130 million in aid from China, allegedly in exchange for refusing to recognise Taiwan. Then in 2005 Nauru recognised Taiwan and broke off diplomatic relations with China. Taiwan later rescued Nauru's fledgling national airline.

According to Russian diplomatic sources cited by Kommersant, Nauru had offered to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia if Russia took an active part in an international donor conference last month. Diplomatic sources told the paper that Russia was asked for $50 million to support "immediate socioeconomic projects".

Nauru diplomats did not immediately respond to e-mailed requests for comment.

Abkhazia's foreign minister, Sergei Shamba, called speculation about an aid deal "complete nonsense". He said he did not know about the request for $50 million, but added, "There was a visit to Russia [by Nauru delegates] and they spoke about projects like this."

Nauru's tiny GDP of $39.9 million is dwarfed by the $70 billion of Russian money which allegedly passed through its banks during a 1990s bid to become an offshore finance capital, The Washington Post reported at the time.



read more @ moscow news


2. Russia's fall guy


Anna Arutunyan

Yegor Gaidar's ‘shock therapy' policies left millions of Russians in poverty, but reformers claim he laid the foundations for a later economic recovery.

...Fellow reformers and members of his team while in government concede that the economic transition was so painful that most Russians associated their troubles with one man. Gaidar's name became forever linked with the crisis of the early 1990s, when people lost their savings and literally had to struggle to survive.

...But critics insist that as a leading proponent of price liberalization and privatization in the early 1990s, Gaidar deserves his fair share of the blame for Russia's economic collapse. In the seven years after the Soviet collapse, the country's industrial production fell by nearly half.

"It is difficult to find tactful words about the death of Yegor Gaidar," Communist Party deputy leader Ivan Melnikov said in a statement. "He wasn't just a person, but primarily a symbol of the colossal problems faced by the people of our country."

Asked about Gaidar's legacy, another Communist, State Duma Deputy Yevgeny Lokot, said: "What happened to the nation's industry ... was a direct result of the programme that was adopted when [Gaidar] was acting prime minister. Yeltsin was president, but Gaidar is responsible for the idea itself. The liberal experiment failed in Russia. It offered no advantages besides an onslaught of cheap [low-quality] goods. We are still dependent on oil."

read more @ moscow news



3. Liberia's shady diamond deals and free war criminals


According to the reports, the Liberian government has failed to implement the Kimberly Process that is meant to ensure blood-free diamond trade, enforce forest resource transparency obligations and enforce UN travel ban on war criminals.

"Of most concern are indications of abuses of the system of internal controls, mounting evidence of the presence of regional trading networks and the potential infiltration of sanctioned Ivorian [Côte d’Ivoire] diamonds into Liberian exports. The political will to implement the Kimberley Process certification scheme has diminished, at least within the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy," the panel revealed.

read more @ afrik.com



4. bank gives porn site link to Swedish school kids

A Swedish bank inadvertently published a link to a porn site in a magazine distributed to hundreds of thousands of Swedish school children.

Lyckoslanten (‘Lucky Penny’), published by Swedbank, is billed as a “fun magazine about money” distributed in schools to more than 500,000 Swedish 9- to 12-year-olds.

The latest issue of the magazine included an article about the ten most expensive internet domain names ever sold.

Coming in at number five on the list is webcam.com, a website featuring hardcore pornography, which sold for 7.1 million kronor ($1 million).


“It’s very unfortunate,” Swedbank spokesperson Anna Sundblad told the Metro newspaper, explaining that the magazine is “much appreciated” by children.

“To all of the upset parents we can only say we are really sorry about what happened.”

Sundblad added that Swedbank has since published information in Lyckoslanten with information about how parents can block their computers from accessing pornographic websites.

source: the local



5. Africa: dealing with human trafficking, forced sex and labor


When 20-year-old Isoke Aikpitanyi was offered a job in Italy in 2000, she leapt at the chance. She knew that she would have to enter the country illegally, but being a nanny or a maid in Europe seemed better than remaining unemployed in Nigeria. It was only after her arrival, she told Al-Jazeerah television in 2008, that she was told that “foreigners without permits can only do one job in Italy — work the streets” as a prostitute. The men who smuggled her into the country demanded payment of $20,000. “The week before, they killed a girl who slept in my bedroom because she refused to pay” she said. “I was a sex slave. They deceived me to come to Italy for a job that didn’t exist.”

This illegal trade in people through trickery and violence is now a global, multi-billion dollar business known as “human trafficking” and Ms. Aikpitanyi story is all too typical. Indeed, the only thing unusual about her ordeal is its happy ending. After months of brutality she finally broke free of her captors and started an aid organization for African trafficking victims, the Association of Benin City Girls. So far, she noted, more than 300 women have sought help.

...A recent report by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime bears her out. The study, found that trafficking within Africa is widespread — fueled by local economic conditions, seasonal demands for labour, military conflicts and environmental degradation that disrupt livelihoods, and cultural practices and gender and ethnic discrimination that limit economic opportunities for women, children and minorities, and make abuses of their rights more acceptable to society.

read more @ afrik.com


6. Frankfurt police say missing American, son of Morgan Stanley financial advisor, fell in river


Frankfurt police said on Friday they believe a 22-year-old American man who went missing last month probably fell into the Main River in an alcohol-related accident.

“As of now the missing persons department assumes that Devon Hollahan fell into the Main River in a helpless alcohol-related state,” the police said in a statement. “There are no indications indicating suicide or a crime.”

Devon Hollahan disappeared around 3 am on November 21 from the city’s central Taunusalange metro station after attending a concert with his friend Josh Friedman. The two had travelled from Prague, where Hollahan worked as an English teacher, to attend a Portugal The Man concert and joined the band for a party afterwards. ...The man’s father, Morgan Stanley financial advisor Jeff Hollahan, launched an international media campaign to find his son, appearing on US news shows and travelling to Frankfurt from his home in Scottsdale, Arizona to aid in the search.

...But Friday’s statement from police revealed new details of their search that point to an alcohol related accident. Witnesses called an ambulance around 4 am, not long after Hollahan went missing, to report a helpless man laying on the pavement on Eschenheimer Straße. “The helpless person was without a doubt the missing person, who was lying on the sidewalk and was barely articulate,” the statement said. When the passersby told the man in English that an ambulance was on the way, he jumped up and disappeared, they said.


source: the local


OK so he was helpless and barely articulate, lying on the ground, but as soon as he heard an ambulance was coming he we suddenly not helpless anymore because he jumped up and disappeared. mmhmm THAT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. - ed.


7. Rosa Luxemburg murder mystery probed


Experts have performed an autopsy on the alleged body of murdered communist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg more than six months after it was discovered in the cellar of a Berlin hospital, state prosecutors told The Local on Thursday.On May 29, head of forensic medicine at Berlin’s Charité hospital Michael Tsokos sparked a media frenzy when he said that a decapitated body without hands and feet – in possession of the hospital for almost nine decades – was likely the remains of the iconic left-wing leader.

Luxemburg was murdered in 1919 by right-wing Prussian soldiers, but after conducting tests on the 90-year-old corpse, Tsokos said he was convinced that the wrong woman was buried in her place.
...Born on March 5, 1871, Rosa Luxemburg was a Polish Jew. She was also a co-founder of the Social Democratic Party in Poland and Lithuania. Along with Karl Liebknecht, Luxemburg was instrumental in founding Germany’s Communist Party in 1918.

As left-wing activists moved towards revolution in early 1919, Luxemburg and Liebknecht were both murdered by soldiers from the right-wing Freikorps on January 15 of that same year. Luxemburg’s body was not found until four months later on May 31 in the Landwehrkanal, a canal parallel to Berlin’s Spree River.

read more @ the local

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