Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On Monday,Barack Obama met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Their main point of discussion was Iran’s nuclear program. Obama, while still pushing for a diplomatic solution to the problem, expressed a growing impatience with Iran’s recalcitrance.  Erdogan, however, maintained his view that the world could only coerce Iran through diplomatic efforts, and called criticism that his country’s close relationship with Iran isolating it away from the West “ridiculous.”

The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee passed a same-sex marriage bill Tuesday night. Heading to the floor tomorrow, the bill is not likely to pass. Regardless, this is the first time the NJ legislature passed an equal-marriage bill out of committee.

A Chicago man has been charged with “conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country” because of his involvement in last year’s terrorist attack on Mumbai. David Coleman Headley, from Chicago, went to India to do recon for Laskkar-e-Taiba He, along with former military man Abdur Rehman, are also connected to a plot to bomb the Danish newspaper that ran controversial cartoons negatively depicting Islam. Headley has, fortunately, begun to cooperate with the FBI in their investigation. Chicago business man Tahawwur Rana has also been charged.

It is getting harder and harder to separate truth from hype on the border of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Iranian news source Alalam claims that Houthi rebels have pushed Saudi away from the Sa’ada, the Yemeni province where Saudi and Yemeni forced are carrying out“Operation Scorched Earth.” The BBC, however, reports that Yemeni commanders have announced that they will have the city of Sa’ada under their control by the end of today. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate has passed a non-binding resolution on the conflict, calling for the global community “to use all appropriate measures to assist the people of Yemen to prevent Yemen from becoming a failed state.”

In an address to an audience of families of those killed during the 1980’s war against Iraq, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahjmadinejad claimed to have documented proof that the U.S. is trying to stop the coming of the Mahdi, the Imam that Muslims believe will save man-kind. “They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming and will be the supporters of his rule.”  He also said that the West was caught in a quagmire in Afghanistan and asked – “Is there not one sane person in your country to tell you these things?”

Russia and India have agreed to work more closely on nuclear power in a round of discussions to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Of the total number of crimes with filed complaints, 15% to 20% are committed by police officers, particularly those involving most violence such as homicide and kidnapping” said the Interior minister during the program “Aló, Presidente” anchored by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In a renewed effort to revive nuclear disarmament talks, President Barack Obama has sent veteran diplomat Stephen Bosworth to North Korea to meet with high level North Korean officials.  “The main question is whether Bosworth will meet with Chairman Kim Jong Il,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Seoul’s Dongguk University. “Such a meeting would demonstrate that both the U.S. and North Korea intend to resolve the nuclear issue.”

Through French President Nikolas Sarkozy, Syria has informed Israel that it is ready to return to peace talks without the precondition that Israel pull completely out of the Golan Heights. Talks may resume with a mediator, the question is who. Israel would like to continue discussion through Sarkozy, but Syrians prefer Turkey. To that, Netanyahu responded that an “honest broker” is needed, and he is “not certain” the Turks fit the bill given their behavior since Israel’s war in Gaza nearly a year ago.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Monday “the time has come” for the government to make a decision on the fate of the Futenma military facility in Okinawa Prefecture and convey it to the United States, but he wouldn’t say what it will be or precisely when it will be.

Google on Tuesday unveiled a new approach to presenting news online by topic, developed with The New York Times and The Washington Post, and said that if the experiment was successful, it would be made available to all publishers.

Also on Tuesday, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson declared greenhouse gas a threat to human health. This “endangerment finding” could lead to the modification of power plants, factories, refineries, and automobiles with new technologies, and caused an almost immediate jump in solar energy holdings & drop in crude oil.

Carbon dioxide output from the U.S. energy sector has already fallen half as much as needed to meet the 2020 emissions reduction target the Obama administration took to the Copenhagen climate-change summit.  Falling U.S. emissions are the result of the “weak economy,” which grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the third quarter after shrinking for a year, and a cleaner fuel mix in the electricity sector, according to a new report.

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Fighting has been concentrated around Sa 'dah in the northwestern region.

Despite resistance from Saudi forces, Houthi rebels in northern Yemen claim that they have gained more ground on the Yemeni-Saudi border. The Kingdom is already concerned about activity on that border, which stretches 1,500 km, and has plans to erect high-tech fence to prevent infiltration.

The Houthis are a Shia rebel group in mostly Sunni Yemen that has been fighting the Yemeni government since 2004. As of this summer, Yemen intensified its battle against the rebels  in an offensive known as “Operation Scorched Earth.” Saudi Arabia’s involvement in this conflict goes beyond concerns about their porous southern border. Sunni Saudi Arabia has a history of priding itself on protecting other Sunni countries and fears that Shia Iran is using the Houthis to fight a proxy war against the Kingdom.

Last week, Houthi fighters lead a raid into Saudi territory and killed a Saudi soldier. As a result, Saudi forces have joined the conflict using fighter jets with phosphorous bombs. “Saudi combat fighter jets launched intense raids against border areas inside Yemeni territory on Sunday night,” the fighters’ spokesman Mohammad Abdessalam told AFP by telephone. “The Saudi military used phosphorus bombs during those night raids, burning mountainous regions.”

The Saudis maintain that their fighters have only targeted Houthis in Saudi territory. However, the Houthis accuse the Saudis of attacking their villages- villages they claim lay in economic ruin because of the neglect of the Yemeni government.  Aid organizations roughly estimate that over 150,000 people have fled the border region since the Houthis began fighting in 2004.

mahmoudabbascleaningglassesMore set-backs in the Egyptian brokered peace deal between Hamas and Fatah. Yesterday, Hamas warned that anyone who participated in elections, to be held in January at Fatah’s suggestion, would be held “accountable”. Hamas considers the suggestion of such elections a direct assault on its status as the democratically elected government of the Gaza strip. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President and leader of the Fatah party, is considering stepping down over the lack of progress in the peace process.  His cooperation with the United States in trying to stifle the UN Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of human rights abuses in Palestine, combined with continued Israeli settlement building, has made him unpopular with his own people. Abbas says that he cannot work with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu either. Experts say, however, that he may just be posturing as his exit from Palestinian politics would leave a sizable power vacuum.

Last week the FCC unanimously voted in favor of Net Neutrality, and the moment it was passed John McCain took up the opposition side with gusto. Why Mr. McCain — admittedly a tech novice — decided to take up the mantle of big business in this argument over the internet seems a mystery. The blogosphere asked Why? as the senator penned an act to curb the FCC’s action, and just in case McCain misses it on the web, it’s all over 24-hour news, too. Rachel Maddow takes a look.


McCain, also a champion of campaign finance reform, collects checks from the telecom industry more than any other U.S. Senator, over $600,000 since 1989. His 2008 Presidential campaign was chock-full of telecom lobbyists including veterans of Verizon and AT&T.

People who lobbied for telecom companies on those issues include McCain’s campaign manager, his deputy manager, his finance chief, his top unpaid political adviser and his Senate chief of staff. Telecom companies have paid the lobbying firms that employed those top five McCain advisers more than $4.4 million since 1999, lobbying records show.

Verizon and AT&T even provided free cell phone towers for McCain’s Arizona ranch.  Records show that the cost of such construction would have been around $22,000. But a maverick’s gotta do what a maverick’s gotta do. In this case, perhaps that’s be mavericky.

"Agatha Christie's picnic basket"

"Agatha Christie's picnic basket." Trash?

The University College of London is holding an interactive exhibit of cultural artifacts with no market value. In “Disposal? Rethinking What to Keep in UCL Collections,” Head of Collections and Curator Sally McDonald highlights the tension between academic, spacial, and monetary value by providing the “opportunity to learn more about how museums are juggling the ethical and practical considerations of managing collections.”  UCL Collections is turning the decision making process over to students and viewers, as the “Disposal?” audience is invited to vote on whether to trash or keep some objects.

From rabbit thighs to left footed cowboy boots, Giles Waterfeld at The Art Newspaper gives a brief overview of some artifacts in question, and of the deaccessioning debate among 21st century museum curators.  The New Scientist‘s “Disposal?” slideshow makes a case for each possibly discarded object.

Exhibit runs through this Saturday, October 31st.

28sheilspan9/8/09 The Wall Street Journal reports on the spike in individuals joining civilian watch groups. While toting a gun and threatening one’s neighbors in the name of justice could seem like a wholesome American pasttime,  we here at Borensics would prefer our “vigil” without a side of “lante.”

Not that this is anything new. In Morris Park, a neighborhood in the Bronx, New York, civilian patrols (pictured) have been monitoring the streets for 30 years.  On 12/26/08 The New York Times did an article covering the row caused by the NYPD’s insistance that the Morris Parker’s take their sheild insignia off of their squad car. The police feared that civilians might be mistaken for law enforcement and attacked by violent criminals. Al D’Angelo, one of the patrollers, made this argument supporting his group’s shield.

“The Vikings had shields, the Romans had shields, the Spartans had shields,” Mr. D’Angelo said. “Superman has a shield on his shirt.”

Oh. Duh.

9/8:   Army bomb disposal team diffuses 600-lb bomb in Forkhill at Northern Ireland south border, police call for information on perpetrators.  (BBC News)

9/8:   Armagh residents “worried and annoyed” over police disclosure of 500lb bomb threat.  (BBC News)

9/7:   Twenty South Armagh residents forced to evacuate property due to security threat.  LOCAL (Belfast Today)

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Video coverage:  UTV (22min)

Blog coverage:  Slugger O’Toole

9/2/09

Pollack, most expensiveIn case you missed it:  a powerhouse Committee to Modernize Voter Registration plans to battle America’s antiquated registration system.  (Reuters)

Domestic Extremism update:  Parents plan protest to President Obama’s Address to Students Across America by keeping their children home from school, GOP supports.  Yay progress!  (DailyKos)

At least 23 are dead after an earthquake rocked Java, Indonesia’s largest island. (France 24)

At least 23 are dead after an earthquake rocked Java, Indonesia’s largest island. (France 24)

The first proven link between Nigerian and Aghan terrorist sells has been found. (BBC World)

The deputy head of Afghan intelligence, along with over a dozen others, has been killed in a suicide blast. (Al Jazeera)

Who wants to by Bernie Madoff’s Long Island beach house? (Crain’s NY)

Revolutionary Struggle, an anti-American, anti-globalization Greek terrorist group, accused after 2 bombs exploded in Athens and northern city of Thessaloniki.  (Al Jazeera)

More careless military deviance is captured on camera, thankfully this time not involving prisoners (Abu Ghraib: never forget).  Still, Secretary Clinton is pissed the f off at these boners. (NY Daily News)

When Portugal legalized narcotics, Europe scoffed. The statistics are showing, however, that it was definitely a smart move. (The Economist)

EPA working to declare CO2 as a harmful pollutant, President and Congress want green house gas restrictions to come from legislature (SFGate)

rjd2

Producer and all around badass RHD2 has announced that he is going to start his own record label called RJ’s Electrical Connections. That by itself is awesome enough, but to put a cherry on top RJD2 will also be releasing some of his b-sides and rarities digitally, and putting out a massive vinyl-only boxed-set retrospective called RJD2: 2002-2010.  (xlr8r)