Local Time

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Booze in Coke, but 13,000 cans to break limit

COCA-COLA and Pepsi contain alcohol, a shock study revealed yesterday.
But don’t fret about going over the drink-drive limit — you would have to down about 13,000 cans to break the law.
Scientists who tested 19 colas for alcohol found ten, including the top brands, contain it. Traces were tiny — as low as 10mg in every litre, or 0.001 per cent.
But the finding will still alarm millions who drink cola for health or safety reasons or because their religion bans alcohol, like Islam.
The only alcohol-free colas found in the research conducted in France by the Paris-based National Institute of Consumption were cheap foreign supermarket versions not widely available in Britain.
Coca-Cola France’s scientific director Michel Pepin said: “It is possible alcohol traces come from the process of making our drink according to its secret recipe.”
But he insisted Coke is “soft”, adding: “The Paris mosque gave us a certificate stating it can be consumed by the Muslim community.”
PepsiCo acknowledged “some soft drinks can contain minute traces of alcohol because of the ingredients used” — but added: “The Pepsi Cola recipe does not contain alcohol.”
Both companies suggested tiny traces of alcohol can be produced by natural fruit fermenting.
Coke was invented in the US in 1886 and patented as a medicine that could cure everything from headaches to impotence. Its main stimulus is regarded as caffeine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Big Ben's tower renamed Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen

The clock tower in London that holds the famous Big Ben bell is going to be renamed the Elizabeth Tower, in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
It comes after a campaign from MPs to change the famous tower's name. Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be a "fitting tribute" to the Queen.
The official name will change from the Clock Tower to the Elizabeth Tower.
Most people know the tower by its nickname Big Ben, but that's actually the name of the 13½-ton bell inside it.
This is not the first time a part of the Palace of Westminster has been renamed in honour of a monarch.
Parliament's other tower had its name changed from the King's Tower to Victoria Tower in the 19th century, as a tribute to Queen Victoria - the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.

Families who illegally download music and movies online face court action for copyright theft

  • Regime designed to stamp out internet piracy will treat individuals as ‘guilty until proven innocent’
  • People wrongly accused of making illegal downloads will have to pay £20 fee to appeal and prove their innocence
  • Move has angered consumer groups
By Sean Poulter
Families who illegally download free music, movies and eBooks face a new crackdown with warning letters and court action for copyright theft.
A controversial new regime designed to stamp out internet piracy will effectively treat individuals as ‘guilty until proven innocent’.
People who are wrongly accused of making illegal downloads will have to pay a £20 fee to appeal and prove their innocence in a move that has angered consumer groups.
Controversial: Families who illegally download free music, movies and eBooks face a new crackdown with warning letters and court action for copyright theft
Controversial: Families who illegally download free music, movies and eBooks face a new crackdown with warning letters and court action for copyright theft
New controls on internet piracy were outlined today by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom under the Government’s Digital Economy Act 2010.
The same Act includes punishments that could – at some future date – see accused families having their internet service slowed down, capped or even cut off.
A new industry code will require large internet service providers (ISPs) like BT, Virgin, Sky and TalkTalk, to send warning letters to families suspected of illegal downloads or uploads of copyright material.
If a customer receives three letters or more within a year, entertainment giants such as movie and music companies will have a right to ask for details of the material involved.

These companies will then apply for a court order requiring the ISP to reveal the customer’s name and address.
The information would be used to pursue the person involved through the civil courts for damages, which could run to thousands of pounds.
However, there are concerns that people who may be totally innocent, perhaps because their wireless internet connection has been hijacked by a neighbour or criminal, will be caught up in the new regime.
People who receive a warning letter will be assumed to be guilty unless they pay a fee of £20 to appeal and can demonstrate their innocence.
Mike O'Connor, chief executive of the official customer body, Consumer Focus, challenged the £20 fee.
The Conservative Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said media companies had to be able to 'protect their investment'
The Conservative Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said media companies had to be able to 'protect their investment'
He said: ‘Copyright infringement is not to be condoned, but people who are innocent should not have to pay a fee to challenge accusations.
‘Twenty pounds may sound like a small sum, but it could deter those living on low-incomes from challenging unfair allegations.
‘This fee is intended to prevent "vexatious appeals". But this could be achieved without pricing low income consumers out of their right to appeal, by giving the Appeals Body the power to fine those who have brought frivolous appeals.
‘However, the best way to reduce unnecessary appeals is for Ofcom to require a high standard of evidence from copyright holders, preventing thousands of notifications being sent out on the basis of flimsy evidence.’
Consumer Focus is also concerned about powers contained in the Digital Economy Act that will allow the government to impose draconian sanctions on people accused of piracy.
If the system of warning letters and civil legal action by entertainment firms does not stop piracy, ministers will be able to go back to Parliament to enact rules that could see households having their internet service cut off.
Mr O’Connor said: ‘Ultimately consumers could be subject to "technical measures", including being cut off from the internet, and the ability to appeal is therefore critical to ensure consumers who have done nothing wrong are not deprived of essential internet access further down the line.’
Jim Killock, of the Open Rights Group, rubbished the appeals system, saying: ‘Some people will almost certainly end up in court having done nothing wrong.’
Publishers, music and movie companies have long been arguing for tougher controls on web piracy.
They insist that British musicians, bands, writers and workers in the creative industries – ranging from Adele to Paul McCartney - are suffering huge losses because their work is being distributed for free over the internet.
The Conservative Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said these companies had to be able to ‘protect their investment’.
He said: ‘They have the right to charge people to access their content if they wish, whether in the physical world or on the internet.
‘They have the right to charge people to access their content if they wish, whether in the physical world or on the internet.
‘We are putting in place a system to educate people about copyright to ensure they know what legitimate content is and where to find it.
‘The Digital Economy Act is an important part of protecting our creative industries against unlawful activity.’ 
Ofcom’s consumer group director, Claudio Pollack, said: ‘These measures are designed to foster investment and innovation in the UK’s creative industries, while ensuring internet users are treated fairly and given help to access lawful content.
‘Ofcom will oversee a fair appeals process, and also ensure that rights holders’ investigations under the code are rigorous and transparent.’
The new regime is due to come into effect in early 2014.

Read more:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2165004/Families-illegally-download-music-movies-online-face-court-action-copyright-theft.html

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gaza truce gets off to a shaky start

Palestinian medics tend to a man wounded during Israeli air strikes in Gaza on June 23, 2012.
Palestinian medics tend to a man wounded during Israeli air strikes in Gaza on June 23, 2012.
  • NEW: Rockets fired toward Ashkelon, Israeli military says
  • Hamas said the truce started at 8 p.m. local time
  • Palestinians say Israeli artillery fire killed a 4-year-old boy
  • The IDF says the boy died from terrorist "ordnance"
Jerusalem (CNN) -- Egypt mediated a truce between Israel and Gaza militants on Saturday, an effort to keep the lid on a deadly spurt of violence between the foes, the Hamas movement said.
But the truce got off to an inauspicious start, with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) saying its Iron Dome system intercepted five rockets fired toward the southern city of Ashkelon. Sirens went off and several loud explosions were heard in the area.
The cease-fire started at 8 p.m. (1 p.m. ET), according to Ayman Taha, a spokesman for Hamas -- the entity that runs the Palestinian territory of Gaza. It came after three Palestinians died in violence on Saturday in Gaza, including a 4-year-old boy and a militant.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office declined to comment on the truce. Earlier Saturday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Banny Gantz, and other senior security and intelligence officers held an "urgent" meeting over the violence.
Israel has been pounding targets in Gaza because of sustained rocket fire into the country from militants in the Palestinian territory. Militants have been firing rockets to retaliate for the airstrikes.
Palestinian medical officials said Israeli artillery fire from a tank at the Israeli-Gaza border killed the 4-year-old boy and badly injured two other civilians. The incident occurred east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich sent out a Twitter message saying the explosion causing the child's death was from an "ordnance belonging to one of the terrorist groups." Reports indicating that a Palestinian child was killed by IDF activity are false, Leibovich said.

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Another drone attack on Gaza City killed a militant on a motorcycle. At least 10 others were wounded in the hit, which also damaged a nearby building. The militant, Osama Mahmmoud Ali, is a member of the Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, which lost one of its leaders in a similar strike Friday.
An Israeli drone killed one man when it hit a militant group east of Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza, according to medical sources in Gaza. Another drone fired a missile at a car in the Zeitoun neighborhood south of Gaza City, injuring three people.
At least 12 others were injured in three Israeli airstrikes overnight, medical officials said. Also, a tank shell struck a parking lot in downtown Gaza City but did not explode.
More than 15 rockets had been fired into Israel on Saturday morning alone, the IDF said. The IDF also said some rockets have been intercepted by the country's Iron Dome missile system.
The IDF said its airstrikes have targeted sites in response to the week's "continuous rocket fire toward southern Israel. During the past week over 150 rockets hit Israel." The military said one of its strikes targeted a "terrorist squad" in northern Gaza preparing to fire a rocket into Israel.
The IDF said it "will not tolerate any attempt by terrorist groups to target Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will continue to operate against those who use terror against the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip."
Near the city of Sderot, in Israel, a 50-year-old man was seriously injured when he was hit in the neck with shrapnel from a rocket that exploded at a factory.
Alon Shuster, head of the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council in Israel, said citizens would not be forced out by the attacks.
"The residents of this region who have tolerated this situation over the past 12 years will continue to stay here. It is the government's responsibility to ensure our safety, whether by a political or military action and not allow these fictitious truces any longer," he said.

Queen Elizabeth to meet former IRA commander

Martin McGuinness, now a Sinn Fein politician, is the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland. (File)
Martin McGuinness, now a Sinn Fein politician, is the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland
  • NEW: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams says the meeting is part of national reconciliation
  • NEW: "This will cause difficulty for Republicans and nationalists," he acknowledges
  • Queen Elizabeth II will meet ex-IRA leader Martin McGuinness in Northern Ireland next week
  • McGuinness is now a Sinn Fein politician and deputy first minister of Northern Ireland
Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is to meet a former IRA commander, Martin McGuinness, during her visit to Northern Ireland next week.
McGuinness, now a Sinn Fein politician, is the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland. The meeting is being seen as highly symbolic.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams confirmed that McGuinness will meet the queen at an event in Belfast to celebrate art and culture across Ireland.
"Because this involves Martin meeting the British monarch, this will cause difficulty for Republicans and nationalists who have suffered at the hands of British forces in Ireland over many decades," he said in a printed statement.
However, the party had agreed that McGuinness should meet the queen "in the context of conflict resolution and national reconciliation, as well as our own republican national objectives," he said.
The event is not connected with the queen's diamond jubilee celebrations, he said.
"This is a significant initiative involving major political and symbolic challenges for Irish republicans," Adams added.
"As the record of the peace process demonstrates, Irish republicans have frequently been prepared to take bold and historic initiatives and risks for peace to break stalemates and find agreements."
The meeting follows the queen's historic visit to the Republic of Ireland in May of last year.
It was the first visit by a British monarch to the republic since it gained independence in 1921 and marked a reconciliation between neighboring countries, who once viewed each with suspicion and hostility.
An IRA bomb killed one of the queen's relatives, Lord Mountbatten, in 1979. IRA members have also killed police officers and soldiers in Northern Ireland, who serve in the queen's name.
The nationalist community in Northern Ireland sees the British as occupiers and wants their rule in the province to end.
McGuinness has admitted that he was a leader of the Provisional IRA during the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland between pro-British and pro-Irish forces.
In recent years, he has received death threats from hard-line dissident IRA splinter groups because of his support for the peace process.
He stood for Ireland's presidency last year but returned to his post as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland when his campaign was unsuccessful.
Accepting his party's nomination last September, he said republicans have an obligation to "heal the wounds of their actions."
The majority of the island gained independence in 1921, following two years of conflict, but six of the nine counties of the province of Ulster chose to stay in the United Kingdom, eventually becoming the country of Northern Ireland.
In the late 1960s the conflict between mainly Protestant unionists who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom and largely Roman Catholic nationalists who want the North to be reunited with the rest of Ireland exploded into a political and sectarian war, known as the Troubles.
The three decades of ensuing violence between the IRA and loyalists claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people, most of them north of the border, and while the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 effectively ended the conflict, suspicions remain. For this reason the queen's state visit is more than symbolic.
Under the terms of the landmark accord, terrorist groups on both sides dumped their weapons, and political allies of the two now work together in Northern Ireland's power-sharing government.

Breivik's lawyer says the Norway mass killer is sane

  Watch this video
  • The trial ends, and judges say the verdict will be delivered on August 24
  • A survivor says he is relieved Breivik's trial has been "dignified, thorough, proper"
  • As Anders Breivik addresses the court, relatives of some of the 77 victims walk out in protest
  • Prosecutors say they believe he is mentally ill and should be transferred to a mental institution
Oslo, Norway (CNN) -- Norway mass killer Anders Breivik should be considered sane and acquitted for the attacks that left 77 people dead, his lawyer said in closing arguments Friday.
Breivik has admitted carrying out the July 22 attack on a Labour Party youth camp on Utoya Island that killed 69 people and a bombing targeting government workers in Oslo that killed eight.
But Breivik, who boasts of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to fight multiculturalism in Norway, says he acted out of "necessity."
Defense lawyer Geir Lippestad argued that Breivik should be fully acquitted on the charges of voluntary homicide and committing acts of terror in Norway -- and that this should be on the grounds of necessity, not insanity.

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If Breivik is not acquitted, he should be given the lightest possible sentence, Lippestad said as he wrapped up his closing arguments.
He asked the judges to discount the claim by prosecutors that Breivik is mentally ill and should be transferred to a psychiatric institution.
Many friends and relatives of the victims left the courtroom in protest as Breivik rose to give his own closing argument, the last one heard before the trial concluded.
He described his actions on July 22 as "barbaric" but said that only two of more than 30 experts who have evaluated him consider him insane. Some in the courtroom laughed as he made points criticizing Norway's multicultural society and moral values.
The court ruled that his speech could not be broadcast.
After Breivik's statement, the judges said the verdict would be delivered August 24.
Several outcomes are possible. Prosecutors have asked that Breivik be acquitted on the grounds of insanity, in which case he would be held in a secure mental health unit. If he is fully acquitted on the grounds of "necessity," as urged by his defense, he could go free. If he is ruled sane and found guilty of some or all the charges, he would be sentenced to prison time.
Earlier, applause greeted the accounts of survivors and relatives of those killed when they addressed the court. The judges and prosecutors were among those displaying emotion as they listened, with some moved to tears.
Outside the courtroom, one of the survivors of the Utoya attack, Tore Sinding Bekkedal, said he was "very relieved this trial has been as dignified, thorough, proper as it has been."
Seeing the legal system treat it like any other criminal case has been the best show of strength possible, the 24-year-old said.
Bekkedal, a youth politician in Oslo, said the case had highlighted the danger of Islamophobia in Norwegian society and the need to fight it.
Hearing fellow survivors testify about the attacks on Utoya had been less difficult than seeing their impact on the relatives of those killed, he said.
"You meet people who have lost relatives and children, sisters and brothers, and it's a much more profound bereavement than losing friends, even though I did lose some very good friends and role models," he said.
The issue of Breivik's sanity has been at the heart of the case.
If he is not found to be mentally ill, prosecutors will ask for a prison sentence of 21 years, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said.
Giving his closing arguments Friday, Lippestad sought to argue that his client's past did not point to a history of violent acts but rather to political activism.
"The central criterion for insanity is that the ability of realistic assessment of one's relationship to the outside world is largely abolished," he said. "Is it violent fantasy that is the mother of these actions, or is it his political opinion?"
The lawyer outlined Breivik's political life and activity as heard by the court, from the early days when he was member of a party to the extreme political arguments he posted online.
Lippestad also recalled how Breivik's mother and his friends said he was intense when he talked about politics but never said he was intense about violence.
He questioned an initial psychiatric report given to the court that said his client had been acting under a delusion, saying Breivik's radicalization had developed through his engagement with extremist communities online.
The lawyer cited Breivik's active stock trading, social life and preparations for the attacks as examples of how he did not meet the criteria to be considered insane.
Under those criteria, he should be disinterested, aimless, inactive, self-centered and socially withdrawn, Lippestad said. "That he has been aimless is certainly the last thing I would call this man," he said.
Lippestad also argued that Breivik had chosen his targets politically, noting that he didn't attack nonpolitical people like the captain on the boat to Utoya and the youngest children on the island.
"Breivik knew that killing was wrong, but it's what any classic terrorist does," he said.
The lawyer told the court he shared the prosecutor's view that the attacks, which he called "a cruel act of terrorism," were almost too horrible to be true.
But, he said, the key question for his client was whether he acted under the legal principle of "necessity."
Lippestad has previously said it is important to Breivik that people see him as sane so they don't dismiss his views.
Last month, Breivik promised that he would not appeal if a court finds him sane and guilty.
Bjorn Ihler, a survivor of the Utoya attack, said it is down to the court to deliver a "good and fair judgment" on Breivik, in accordance with Norway's longstanding principles of justice.
Its ruling on whether he is sane matters less than the fact that Breivik's extremist views are shared by other people, he said.
However, listening to Breivik in court had made him appear as less of a "scary monster," Ihler said. "Now it's just a pathetic man sitting there."
Asked what his personal message to the court would be, he said, "I am still alive. I'm a survivor, not a victim, and I will live on and fight on to work against future extremist acts."
The issues thrown up by Breivik's trial have led the Norwegian authorities to re-evaluate the country's provision for holding dangerous criminals who are found to be insane.
The government proposed amendments to the Norwegian Mental Health Care Act in May, aiming "to strengthen the security measures relating to a small group of particularly dangerous patients."
The current law allows "too great a risk for escape, hostage-taking and severe violence against patients and staff" in the health institutions where such patients are currently housed, a statement from the Ministry of Health and Care Services said.
The new legislation would strengthen security measures and allow for a high-security unit to be based within a prison, opening the possibility that Breivik could be held in a secure unit in the same Ila Prison where he has been detained for almost a year.
The amendments will come into force July 1.
In the course of the trial, which started in mid-April, the court has heard grueling testimony from the survivors of the July 22 attacks.
Survivors and relatives of those killed and injured have also been present in the courtroom to hear Breivik give his account of the events of that day and the motivation for his acts.
In his testimony early in the trial, Breivik claimed to represent a "European resistance movement" and "Europeans who don't want our ethnic rights to be taken away."
The shocking attacks prompted Norwegians to reassert their commitment to multiculturalism and tolerance at a series of mass public tributes.

Supreme Court mostly rejects Arizona immigration law; gov says 'heart' remains

Watch this video

  • NEW: President Obama expresses concern about racial profiling
  • Arizona's governor says the heart of the law remains intact
  • Three other key parts opposed by the federal government get struck down
  • Justices differ on the power of the federal government versus the states
Washington (CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down key parts of an Arizona law that sought to deter illegal immigration, but let stand a controversial provision that allows police to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws.
In a decision sure to ripple across the political landscape in a presidential election year, the court's 5-3 ruling upheld the authority of the federal government to set immigration policy and laws.
"The national government has significant power to regulate immigration," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. "Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermined federal law."
While concluding that the federal government has the power to block the law , the court let stand one of the most controversial parts -- a provision that lets police check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws if "reasonable suspicion" exists that the person is in the United States illegally.
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"There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced," Kennedy wrote, making clear that Arizona authorities must comply with federal law or face further constitutional challenges.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police said it wasn't immediately clear whether authorities would begin checking motorists' immigration status while enforcing other laws. They referred questions to the Arizona attorney general's office, which did not immediately return a call Monday from CNN seeking comment.
Opponents of the Arizona law said the so-called "show me your papers" provision will lead to racial profiling.
"I know they will not be using that kind of tactic on people with the last name Roberts, Romney, or Brewer, but if your name is something like Gutierrez or Chung or Obama, watch out," said Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. "The express goal of the authors of Arizona's SB1070 is to make life miserable for immigrants so that they will leave, and a key tool in that effort was upheld by the court."
President Barack Obama also expressed concern over the immigration status checks allowed by Monday's ruling, saying they could lead to racial profiling.
"No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like," Obama said. "Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the court's decision recognizes."
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, meanwhile, declared the ruling a victory for her state, saying the "heart" of the law can now be implemented "in accordance with the U.S. Constitution."
"Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual's civil rights," Brewer, a Republican, said in a written statement.
However, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Monday's ruling "essentially puts an end to immigration enforcement since the states no longer can step in and fill the void created by the Obama administration."
The hot-button immigration issue has become a major attack line in this year's presidential campaign, with Republicans, led by their certain presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, accusing Obama of failing to devise a comprehensive strategy to deal with illegal immigration.
In a statement issued by his campaign, Romney sounded defiant of the high court's ruling, saying: "I believe that each state has the duty -- and the right -- to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities."
The Arizona law generated immediate controversy after it was signed by Brewer in April 2010. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a travel alert for Arizona, and dozens of groups canceled meetings or conventions.
The federal government challenged four provisions of the Arizona law that never were enforced, pending the legal ruling.

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Provisions struck down included:
-- Authorizing police to arrest illegal immigrants without warrant where "probable cause" exists that they committed any public offense making them removable from the country.
-- Making it a state crime for "unauthorized immigrants" to fail to carry registration papers and other government identification.
-- Forbidding those not authorized for employment in the United States to apply, solicit or perform work. That would include illegal immigrants standing in a parking lot who "gesture or nod" their willingness to be employed.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the minority, argued the court's ruling encroaches on Arizona's sovereign powers.
"If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign state," Scalia wrote in a dissent backed by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.
The majority included Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Steven Breyer, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Justice Elena Kagan did not hear the case. Before taking the bench last year, she had been involved in the administration's initial legal opposition to the law as solicitor general.
Several other states followed Arizona's lead by passing laws meant to deter illegal immigrants. Similar laws are under challenge in lower courts in Georgia, Alabama, Utah, Indiana and South Carolina. Arizona's appeal is the first to reach the Supreme Court.
"Hopefully today's decision will spur the federal government to enforce the rule of law in the immigration arena," said a statement by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. "My office will be reviewing today's decision to determine the full extent of its impact on Alabama's law and the pending litigation."
Fed up with illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico -- and what they say is the federal government's inability to stop it -- legislators in Arizona passed the tough immigration law. The federal government sued, saying that Arizona overreached.
At issue was whether states have any authority to step in to regulate immigration matters or whether that is the exclusive role of the federal government. In dry legal terms, this constitutional issue is known as pre-emption.
During an April hearing, Paul Clement, lawyer for Arizona, told the high court the federal government has long failed to control the problem, and that states have discretion to assist in enforcing immigration laws.
But the Obama administration's solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, strongly countered that assertion, saying immigration matters are under the federal government's exclusive authority and state "interference" would only make matters worse.
Arizona is the nation's most heavily traveled corridor for illegal immigration and smuggling.
Federal courts had blocked four elements of the state's Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, known as SB 1070.
During the 70-minute arguments in April, Roberts raised concerns.
When enforcing other law, "the person is already stopped for some other reason. He's stopped for going 60 in a 20 (mph zone). He's stopped for drunk driving. So that decision to stop the individual has nothing to do with immigration law at all. All that has to do with immigration law is whether or not they can ask the federal government to find out if this person is illegal or not, and then leave it up to you," Roberts said to Verrilli. "It seems to me that the federal government just doesn't want to know who is here illegally or not."
Kennedy echoed the thought, suggesting the federal government is not doing enough on illegal immigration, which might give states discretion to intervene.
Verrilli argued the law would hurt Washington's ability to carry out diplomatic relations with other nations.
The Justice Department said Arizona's population of 2 million Latinos includes an estimated 400,000 there illegally, and 60% to 70% of deportations or "removals" involve Mexican nationals.
The Pew Hispanic Center recently issued a report that found that Mexican immigration to the United States has come to a standstill.
The economic downturn in the United States and better conditions in Mexico, along with deportations and other enforcement, has led many to return to Mexico.
However, the debate continues as more than 10 million unauthorized immigrants -- from Mexico and other countries -- continue to live in the United States.
Even if immigration has slowed to lows not seen in decades, proponents of tough immigration laws want to beef up enforcement ahead of any future pressures.

Court: No automatic life without parole for juveniles

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is unconstitutional for state laws to require juveniles convicted of murder to be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
  • The decision came in the robbery and murder cases of Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson, who were 14 when they were convicted.
    By Evan Vucci, AP
    The decision came in the robbery and murder cases of Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson, who were 14 when they were convicted.

    The 5-4 decision is in line with others the court has made, including ruling out the death penalty for juveniles and life without parole for young people whose crimes did not involve killing. Monday's decision left open the possibility that judges could sentence juveniles to life without parole in individual cases of murder, but said state laws cannot automatically impose such a sentence.
    We "hold that mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on 'cruel and unusual punishment,'" said Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the opinion for the majority. She was joined in that opinion by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
    Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.
    "Even a 17 ½ year-old who sets off a bomb in crowded mall or guns down a dozen students and teachers is a 'child' and must be given a chance to persuade a judge to permit his release into society," said Alito, who read his dissent aloud in the courtroom. "Nothing in the Constitution supports this arrogation of legislative authority."
    The decision came in the robbery and murder cases of Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson, who were 14 when they were convicted.
    Jackson was sentenced to life in prison in Arkansas after the shooting death of a store clerk during an attempted robbery in 1999. Another boy shot the clerk, but because Jackson was present he was convicted of capital murder and aggravated robbery.
    Miller was convicted of capital murder during the course of arson. A neighbor, while doing drugs and drinking with Miller and a 16-year-old boy, attacked Miller. Intoxicated, Miller and his friend beat the man and set fire to his home, killing the 52-year-old man. Miller's friend testified against him, and got life in prison with the possibility of parole.
    "This is an important win for children. The court took a significant step forward by recognizing the fundamental unfairness of mandatory death-in-prison sentences that don't allow sentencers to consider the unique status of children and their potential for change," said Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, who represented Jackson and Miller. "The court has recognized that children need additional attention and protection in the criminal justice system."
    According to data provided to the court, roughly 2,500 people are behind bars for life with no chance of winning their freedom for murders they committed before their 18th birthday. Seventy-nine of them are in prison for crimes that took place when they were 14 or younger. More than 2,000 of them were there because the sentence was mandated by a legislature.

Facebook Just Changed Your Email Without Asking—Here’s How to Fix It (Updated)

Hey, here's something really stupid and annoying: Facebook abruptly switched everyone's default email address to the @facebook.com account you've never used. Here's how to switch back Facebook's obnoxious overreach right now. So people can actually, you know, contact you.
Remember long, long ago, when Facebook launched a Facebook email system and then nobody used it? That's fine—it was always just an option you were more than welcome to completely ignore. And we did, because we already had Gmail and work inboxes, and didn't need yet another. If our friends wanted to email us, they could just head to our profiles and have options.

Not today! If you go to your profile (or anyone else's), you'll see the @facebook.com email account listed—which just forwards to your Facebook messages inbox—and none of your others. They've all been hidden in a ham-handed attempt to make the Facebook inbox relevant.
Facebook Just Changed Your Email Without Asking—Here's How to Fix It (Updated)
Luckily, it's easy to reverse this foolish move. Go to your Timeline. Click about, under your contact info. Scroll down to "Contact Info" and hit edit. Switch all of the crossed out circle symbols to a full circle for each inbox you want visible on your profile. If you don't want @facebook.com to show up, switch it from a full circle ("Shown on Timeline") to crossed out ("Hidden from Timeline"). This is also a good opportunity to check your privacy settings and make sure your various inboxes are visible only to friendlies. Hit save.
Facebook: don't do this again. [Forbes]
Update: A Facebook spokesperson provided the following non-explanation to Reuters:
As we announced back in April, we've been updating addresses on Facebook to make them consistent across our site.
In addition to everyone receiving an address, we're also rolling out a new setting that gives people the choice to decide which addresses they want to show on their timelines.
Ever since the launch of timeline, people have had the ability to control what posts they want to show or hide on their own timelines, and today we're extending that to other information they post, starting with the Facebook address.
Facebook, it's probably safe to say that the way we all had our things before was the "choice" we made about "which addresses...show on [our] timelines." This wasn't about choice—in fact, it was the opposite. You chose for us.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

David Cameron is tainted prime minister - Ed Miliband

Labour leader Ed Miliband has launched an attack on David Cameron in which he branded him a "tainted prime minister".

In a speech to Labour's National Policy Forum in Birmingham, Mr Miliband said Mr Cameron "does not stand up to the rich and powerful".

He added that Mr Cameron was tied to outdated and ineffective economic, social and political orthodoxies which are "crumbling before our eyes".

The Conservatives said Mr Miliband "isn't living in the real world".

As the prime minister prepares to attend the G20 summit in Mexico, Mr Miliband said the world needed new economic leadership to deliver a global plan for jobs and growth.

He seized on evidence from the Leveson Inquiry of Mr Cameron's close links with senior figures at News International, including former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

He described the inquiry as a "symbol for what is wrong with our politics" and "a scandal about the way Britain is run".

He urged: "The Murdoch Empire must be broken up."

'Rode the horse'
"This prime minister cannot be the answer. This is a prime minister who sent the texts, he received the texts, he even rode the horse. A prime minister who hasn't learned the lessons. That's why we have a tainted prime minister," he said.

"Tainted because he stands up for the wrong people, like Andy Coulson and Jeremy Hunt. Tainted because he does not stand up to the rich and powerful. And I'm not just talking about Rupert Murdoch.

"Tainted because he cannot be the change this country needs. And he even seems to believe that 'we're all in it together' means country suppers with Rebekah Brooks."

In the speech Mr Miliband said his party's task was to "rebuild Britain" so it works for everyone, and "not just a powerful and privileged few".

Commenting on the economic crisis, he said there needed to be a "decisive shift towards jobs and growth".

'Rebuilding' theme
"They are stuck with an approach to our country's economy, society and politics that simply does not work anymore: a set of orthodoxies whose time is over, which are now crumbling before our eyes.

"The Tories stand up for the wrong people; they run our country with the wrong ideas; they are both out of touch and out of date."

Describing the next steps in Labour's policy review, Mr Miliband said it would focus on three themes: rebuilding the economy, rebuilding society and rebuilding politics.

He said he believed that workers, management, shareholders and customers need to work together to make companies a success.

Mr Miliband went on to say that "we need to build a society of shared responsibility" - a more equal society built on "care, compassion and looking out for each other, not just on money, market and exchange".

He also said Britain needed a politics "which stands up for the many against the interests of the few, however powerful they are".

'Rank hypocrisy'

Michael Fallon: ''It's extremely hypocritical for Mr Milliband to pretend he was somehow above all this''
Responding to Mr Miliband's speech, Conservative Party deputy chairman Michael Fallon said: "Ed Miliband isn't living in the real world.

"This government has already cleared one quarter of Labour's deficit over the last two years. But his answer to the debt crisis is more spending, more borrowing and more debt.

"Ed Miliband has clearly learned nothing from the mistakes he made as Gordon Brown's right-hand man - that's why he can't be trusted with the nation's finances ever again."

On Mr Miliband's comments about the prime minister's close relationship with News International, Mr Fallon later said: "Labour were just as close to the Murdochs and to try to score cheap points on this issue is rank hypocrisy."

China launches space mission with first woman astronaut

China launches Shenzhou-9 capsule carrying its first female astronaut

China in new manned space flight
China has launched its latest manned space mission - whose crew includes its first female astronaut, Liu Yang.

The Shenzhou-9 capsule rode to orbit atop a Long March rocket from the Jiuquan spaceport on the edge of the Gobi desert.

Ms Liu and her two male colleagues are heading to the Tiangong space lab.

They will spend over a week living and working on the 335km-high vessel, testing new systems and conducting a number of scientific experiments.

Before leaving, the crew were presented to Communist Party officials, VIPs and the media.

Wearing their flight suits and sitting behind glass, they waved and smiled.

Astronaut Liu Yang
Born in Henan province and an only child
Married, with no children
Air force pilot with rank of major
Member of Communist Party
Honoured as a "model" pilot in March 2010
Landed a plane safely after it was struck by 18 pigeons
Goes by "little flying knight" on the QQ instant messaging service
Has been described as having a penchant for patriotic speeches
In pictures: China's manned space mission
Profile: China's first spacewoman
"We will obey orders, listen to directions and be calm; and co-ordinate together to successfully complete China's first manned rendezvous and docking mission," said Commander Jing Haipeng.

China's top legislator, Wu Bangguo, wished them well and told them: "We are expecting your safe return."

The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft lifted off on schedule at 18:37 local time (10:37 GMT; 11:37 BST).

All systems appeared to function normally and eight minutes later, the spacecraft had entered orbit. Very shortly after Shenzhou-9 had unfurled its solar panels.

It will take a couple of days to reach Tiangong. A docking is planned for Monday at 15:00 Beijing time (07:00 GMT; 08:00 BST).

Mr Jing, 46, is making his second spaceflight after participating in the Shenzhou-7 outing in 2008 - the mission that included China's first spacewalk.

His flight engineers are both first-timers, however.

Liu Wang, 42, a People's Liberation Army fighter pilot, has got his chance after spending 14 years in the China National Space Administration's astronaut corps.

Thirty-three-year-old Liu Yang, also a fighter pilot, has on the other hand emerged as China's first woman astronaut after just two years of training.

Her role in the mission will be to run the medical experiments in orbit.

Shenzhou-9 follows on from the unmanned Shenzhou-8 venture last year that tested the technologies required to join a capsule to the Tiangong lab.

Those manoeuvres went well and gave Chinese officials the confidence to send up humans.

When it arrives at Tiangong, the Shenzhou-9 craft is expected to make a fully automated docking, but there is a plan to try a manual docking later in the mission.

This would see the crew uncouple their vehicle from the lab, retreat to a defined distance and then command their ship to re-attach itself.

Liu Wang will take the lead in this activity. "We've done many simulations," he said during the pre-launch press conference.

"We've mastered the techniques and skills. China has first class technologies and astronauts, and therefore I'm confident we will fulfil the manual rendezvous."

Tiangong is the next step in a strategy that Beijing authorities hope will lead ultimately to the construction and operation of a large, permanently manned space station.

It is merely the prototype for the modules China expects to build and join in orbit. Mastering the rendezvous and docking procedures is central to this strategy.

Patriotic pride
At about 60 tonnes in mass, this proposed station would be considerably smaller than the 400-tonne international platform operated by the US, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan, but its mere presence in the sky would nonetheless represent a remarkable achievement.

Concept drawings describe a core module weighing some 20-22 tonnes, flanked by two slightly smaller laboratory vessels.

Officials say it would be supplied by freighters in exactly the same way that robotic cargo ships keep the International Space Station (ISS) today stocked with fuel, food, water, air, and spare parts.

China is investing billions of dollars in its space programme. It has a strong space science effort under way, with two orbiting satellites having already been launched to the Moon. A third mission is expected to put a rover on the lunar surface.

The Asian country is also deploying its own satellite-navigation system known as BeiDou, or Compass.

Before leaving Earth, Liu Yang said the Shenzhou-9 mission would generate further pride in Chinese people. "When I was a pilot I flew in the sky; now as an astronaut, I'm going into space. It's higher and it's farther," she said.

"I have a lot of tasks to fulfil, but besides these tasks I want to feel the unique environment in space and admire the views. I want to explore a beautiful Earth, a beautiful home.

"I want to record all my feelings and my work, to share with my friends, and my comrades and my future colleagues."

Tiangong-1, which means ''heavenly palace'', was launched in September last year

Coca-Cola returns to Burma after a 60-year absence

Coca-Cola will resume business in Burma after a 60-year absence, following a US decision to suspend investment sanctions against the country.

Officials suspended the sanctions last month as the country has moved towards democratic reforms.

Coca-Cola says it will start doing business in Burma as soon as the US government issues a licence allowing them to do so.

The country was one of only three that Coca-Cola does not do business with.

The world's largest soft-drink maker left Cuba after the Cuban Revolution, when Fidel Castro's government began seizing private assets. They have never operated in North Korea.

In a statement, the company said they would start with importing products from neighbouring countries as it establishes local operations in Burma.

From 1962 to 2011, the country was ruled by a military junta that suppressed almost all dissent and wielded absolute power in the face of international condemnation and sanctions.

US and European leaders have recently made their first visits to the country in decades and offered reduced sanctions as Burma takes further steps towards democratic reform.

The announcement comes amid reports of tens of thousands of people displaced by violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma's north-western Rakhine state on Friday.

French philosopher Roger Garaudy dies

Controversial French philosopher Roger Garaudy has died at the age of 98.

An ex-member of the communist party, he converted to Islam in the 1980s. His 1996 book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics denied that the killing of Jews by the Nazis constituted genocide.

He was given a suspended jail sentence for Holocaust denial in 1998.

During the war Garaudy joined the French Resistance and later wrote more than 50 books - mainly on political philosophy and Marxism.

He was expelled from the French Communist Party in 1970 after criticising the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Born into a Catholic family, he initially converted to Protestantism before rejoining the Catholic Church and eventually embracing Islam.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Shock as second man dies of Legionnaires’ disease

The North British Distillery was shut down. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The North British Distillery was shut down. Picture: Ian Rutherford
A SECOND man has died from Legionnaires’ disease in the Capital, as ten people remain in intensive care.
The man, who has not been named, died yesterday evening at the Royal Infirmary.
It is reported that he was in his 40s and from Gorgie, and was one of the first people to be admitted to the hospital after the outbreak started. NHS Lothian said he had significant pre-existing health conditions.
His death comes after that of construction worker Robert Air, 56, on June 5.
The latest victim was one of the 41 confirmed cases in the outbreak. There are another 48 suspected cases.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said last night: “My sincere condolences go to the family and friends of the patient who passed away in Edinburgh tonight in a case linked to the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the city. My thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.
“Despite this sad and tragic development, it remains the case that we believe the outbreak to have peaked.
“We continue to monitor the situation carefully and advise anyone with any concerns to contact the special NHS 24 helpline on  08000 85 85 31.”
Dr Duncan McCormick, chairman of the incident management team, added: “Whilst we realised that further deaths were a possibility this additional death is extremely sad and I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of the patient.”
Efforts continue to establish the source of the outbreak. The Health and Safety Executive, NHS Lothian and city council are still awaiting the results of tests carried out on cooling towers at the start of the outbreak. But they have warned that they may never find out conclusively where the disease came from.
The HSE has served improvement notices on two of the firms to have been examined, Macfarlan Smith and North British Distillery, both in Wheatfield Road, Gorgie.
It ordered thorough cleaning of one of Macfarlan Smith’s cooling towers.
North British Distillery was ordered to devise an effective biocide control programme for one cooling tower.

Is something fishy going on...? South Korea woman 'becomes pregnant by SQUID'

Be careful when putting seafood in your mouth, you could end up spitting out babies...

'Pregnant' by a portion: Say hello to daddy...
'Pregnant' by a portion: Say hello to daddy...
Have you ever heard of anyone having a kid by a squid before?
A South Korean woman has been impregnated by one such sea creature, according to reports.
The odd claim has apparently been made in a research study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information based in Maryland in the United States.
According to the paper a 63-year-old woman was eating a serving of whole squid when she experienced a sharp pain in her mouth.
She told medical staff that she could also feel something in her mouth, which they described as “bug-like organisms”.
Baby cephlapods were then reportedly removed from her gums, tongue and cheek and later identified as “squid spermatophores”.
“She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately,” the research paper states.
“She complained of a pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity.”
It continued: “Twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva were completely removed, along with the affected mucosa.
“On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.”
According to Wikipedia, a spermatophore is “a capsule or mass created by males of various animal species, containing spermatozoa and transferred in entirety to the female's ovipore during copulation.”

"He treated his victims like roadkill": Allen Stanford is jailed for 110 YEARS for £4.5 billion fraud

He sold investors worthless certificates of deposit from his Caribbean bank in a Ponzi scheme scam

Jailed: Stanford masterminded one of the world’s biggest investment frauds
Jailed: Stanford masterminded one of the world’s biggest investment frauds
Financier Allen Stanford was jailed for 110 years yesterday for masterminding one of the world’s biggest investment frauds.
The former billionaire, 62, was sentenced in Houston, Texas, following his conviction in March on charges of fleecing more than £4.5billion.
He sold investors worthless certificates of deposit from his Caribbean bank in a Ponzi scheme scam.
He spent the proceeds on funding an extravagant lifestyle, owning yachts and mansions in Florida and the West Indies.
The court heard how he used private jets to fly a tailor from New York to Antigua to take his measurements and to transport Koi carp for his pond.
In 2008 Stanford did a deal with English cricketers for a $1million-a-man, winner-takes-all Twenty20 contest between them and a select team of Stanford Superstars in his adopted home, Antigua.
England had been due to play four further lucrative matches in the Caribbean. But in February 2009 cricket chiefs severed all links with Stanford a day after FBI agents tracked him down.
He had denied committing fraud and insisted: "I am not a thief".
Prosecutor William Stellmach told the court: "This is a man utterly without remorse. He treated his victims like roadkill."
Stanford, who has been in custody for the past three years, was expecting to spend the rest of his life behind bars, according to his mother, Sammi.
"I didn't expect anything different," she was reported as saying.

China vows punishment over forced abortion at seven months

(Reuters) - Chinese authorities have vowed to punish officials who forced a woman who was seven-months pregnant to have an abortion in a case that has sparked outrage over methods used to impose strict family planning rules.
Officials forced the woman, Feng Jianmei, who is in her 20s, to have an abortion at a hospital in the northwestern province of Shaanxi in June, state media reported.
The woman's treatment drew the attention of national media and the fury of China's micro bloggers after her husband posted pictures online of her with her aborted baby girl on a hospital bed.
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who was allowed to travel to the United States in May, rose to prominence seven years ago for campaigning against forced abortions done in the name of the government's so-called one-child policy.
Feng's case shows the practice, though illegal, persists.
"What the authorities did ... represents a serious violation of national and provincial policies and regulations on population and family planning," the official Xinhua news agency quoted the provincial family planning commission as saying.
Xinhua said family planning officials said Feng had given her consent to the abortion because she already had a 5-year-old daughter and was in breach of rules that limit most urban couples to one child.
The city government apologized to Feng and suspended three officials, including the head of the family planning bureau, Xinhua reported.
China has used strict family planning policies since the 1970s to control its population, which is now at 1.34 billion.
Officials have long been known to compel women to have abortions to meet birth-rate targets.
Zhang Kai, a lawyer hoping to represent Feng, told Reuters by telephone that he had not been allowed into the hospital to see her.
"To our understanding, she was forced into giving her signature," Zhang said, adding that he was in talks with her family over a possible legal case against the government.
"This is a crime and they must be held criminally responsible. The second goal is to make sure the party involved gets the relevant compensation," Zhang said.
Under the rules, urban couples are allowed to have a second child if the parents are both single children, and there are looser restrictions on rural couples, meaning many have two children.
Chen, 40, one of China's most prominent rights activists, had accused officials in another province, Shandong, in 2005 of forcing women to have late-term abortions and sterilizations.
He was allowed to leave China for the United States after he escaped from house arrest in April and fled to the U.S. Embassy, causing a diplomatic tussle.


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