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Candle

The people of Gaza suffer genocide under the Israeli-Egyptian siege

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"The world has forgotten Gaza, its women and children. The blockade is as bad as the war; it's like a slow death for everyone in Gaza. We are paying the price for disputes between different powers. Isn't that shameful? The world has lost its humanity," - Attiyeh Abu Khousa resident of Gaza.

At this time of year the mainstream media abounds with stories of how ordinary people across the world are preparing for the upcoming Christmas holiday. One story people will not hear about is the desperate plight of the 2 million people trapped within the Gaza Strip where malnutrition, darkness, cold and suffering abound.

The people of Gaza are being crushed under the Israeli blockade which severely restricts essential supplies coming into the strip. Israel refuses to allow building materials into Gaza, meaning that people left homeless by successive Israeli military attacks cannot rebuild their homes. The number of food insecure people has risen dramatically from 44 % in 2011 to 57% in 2012.

Gold Coins

Helsinki unveils Europe's first Bitcoin ATM

While Canada has had Bitcoin ATMs for over a month, bringing the virtual currency closer to mainstream acceptance; Bittiraha.fi reports that at one of the busiest spots in Helsinki, the Finns have opened the first permanent Bitcoin ATM installation in Europe. With the Chinese shunning the crypto-currency for now but the Swiss inching towards a broader acceptance, the appearance of ATMs (like this one at a well-known Finnish record store in the Helsinki railway station) will only serve to stoke the public interest.

Via Bittirahi.fi,

We've launched THE FIRST permanent installation of a Bitcoin ATM in Europe. It's right there, ready for use, at one of the busiest spots in Helsinki. Proof is in the pics.

TV

Rare video: Mandela speaking on Palestine

The video consists of extracts from a 1990 town hall meeting, held in New York and chaired by Ted Koppel of ABC Networks. The meeting formed part Nelson Mandela's first visit to the USA immediately following his release after 27 years in prison.

Much of the meeting focused on Nelson Mandela's advocating of sanctions against Apartheid South Africa, his support for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as well as his close friendship with Yasser Arafat (of Palestine) and Fidel Castro (of Cuba).

This meeting took place in 1990, long before the world had embraced Nelson Mandela or the ANC. However, even then, Mandela stood firm and resolute on his principles and organisation's policies even though it could have "hurt" his and the ANC's "image", for example his support for the Palestinian and Cuban people.

Nelson Mandela supported the Palestinian struggle when it was unfashionable and unpopular, he was a true leader. Hamba Khale Tata...


Che Guevara

A man in debt demolishes his house and drops it in front of the bank

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© Unknown.
A man from Lovech-Bulgaria who could not afford to pay the mortgage for his house gave his last penny to demolish it right before the banksters take it away.

The land that the house was built on was not included in the mortgage so the family decided to destroy the house and give it to its new owner. The remains of the building were loaded on a big truck and moved to the central district office of the bank in the city of Teteven, where the contract for the mortgage was signed.

The man who was in debt to the bank and his whole family entered the office and started crying and begging for mercy, but the director said that they can't make exceptions and the family had a week to vacant the house.

Imagine the director's face after the family got out of the office and his precious new house was unloaded in front of the bank's main entrance...

Bad Guys

Ian Watkins gets 35-year sentence for child sex crimes

Detectives believe there are more victims and will continue to investigate activities of former Lostprophets singer





The rock singer Ian Watkins has received a 35-year sentence after admitting a string of sex offences involving children including the attempted rape of a baby.

Two women, known only as Woman A and Woman B - who are the mothers of children he abused - were sentenced to 14 and 17 years respectively.

Watkins was jailed by Mr Justice Royce for 29 years. He will serve at least two thirds of that before the parole board can decide if he should be released. If he is released early, he will serve the rest of the jail term on licence. But the judge stipulated he will serve an extra six years on licence on top of that, bringing the total sentence to 35 years.

Royce told Watkins: "Those who have appeared in these courts over many years see a large number of horrific cases. This case, however, breaks new ground.

"You, Watkins, achieved fame and success as the lead singer of Lostprophets. You had many fawning fans. That gave you power. You knew you could use that power to induce young female fans to help satisfy your insatiable lust and take part in the sexual abuse of their own children.

"Away from the highlights of your public performances lay a dark and sinister side."

Comment: So, his defense in court was that he was all stressed out from being famous, successful and popular, with both drugs and groupies at his fingertips? He couldn't handle all the attention, so he resorted to crack, meth and sexually abusing children? Are these people serious, or what?

Maybe the answer is much simpler and a lot less BS.
Ian Watkins is a predator of children, a convicted pedophile.
Should they lock him up for 35 years? "Hell yeah, baby."


Arrow Down

Eugenics: 'Deselecting' our children

Editor's note. Dr. Somerville's article was in response to an article in a Danish newspaper headlined "Plans to make Denmark a Down syndrome-free perfect society." She is the founding director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University in Quebec.

© National Right to Life News, Org

According Danish news paper Berlingske, "Denmark has decided not listen to people who may complain of human selection and have put their foot on the ground to promote increased abortion of foetuses suspected of having Down syndrome." As such, if progress continues at this rate, the last case to be born with the illness will be around the year 2030.

Aarhus University bioethicist, Niels Uldbjerg, "describes it as a "fantastic achievement" that the number of newborns with Down syndrome is approaching zero." The report continues: "What's next? Is the child born with diabetes...[to] be discarded?" asks Ulla Brendstrup, the mother of a child with Down syndrome."

Lillian Bondo, a member of the Denmark Ethics Committee is, who is also chairman of the association of midwives, told Berlingske she "wants to help as many people as possible to discuss how society should draw the line. I do not want a society in which sorting by [testing] is the norm."

At least the Danes are bringing this issue into the open and are being more honest about it than we are in Canada. The current estimates are that in North America over 90 percent of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted. Importantly, the Danes are also recognizing that "deselecting" Down syndrome children - or any other group who are likewise selected for elimination - raises issues for society and is not just a matter of private decision-making by individuals.

And this issue will only become more prevalent as prenatal tests for genetic and other conditions expand, become cheaper and easier to use, and are presented to pregnant women as routine precautions in medically managing a pregnancy.

Widespread, publicly endorsed and paid for pre-natal screening implicates among other values, those of respect for human life, both individual human life and human life in general ; respect for "disabled" (differently abled) people, both as individuals and as a group; and respect for the rights to autonomy and self-determination of pregnant woman. It also raises issues of the ethics of society's support for and complicity in any breach of values involved, and, likewise, of medicine's complicity in such breaches.

USA

In a pathocracy: Death rate unusually high for young veterans

Veterans are far more likely to die of suicide and in accidents - a trend largely unstudied until recently.

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© Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times
Mark Tyree, a Marine Corps veteran who did a tour in Iraq, is buried in the Northern California Veterans Cemetery.
Mark Tyree was chasing death.

The 25-year-old Marine veteran drank heavily and drove fast - often at the same time. Tyree had walked away from two serious accidents that demolished his cars.

On a foggy November morning in 2011, he slammed his pickup truck into a power pole, became tangled in a power line and was electrocuted.

"He was so reckless at times," said his father, Mark Sr. "He had no fear whatsoever."

Tyree belonged to a generation of young veterans whose return to civilian life has been marked by an unusually high death rate, primarily boosted by accidents and suicides.

The death rate for California veterans under 35 surpasses that of both active-duty service members and other civilians of the same ages, according to a Times analysis of state mortality records.

Scattered across the state, the veterans' deaths - 1,253 men and 110 women between 2006 and 2011 - are barely noticed in the mayhem of modern life.

Megaphone

UN: Almost 1 million in need of food aid in Gaza

The United Nations says nearly one million people are expected to need food aid in the besieged Gaza Strip next year.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) currently provides food for around 813,000 Palestinian refugees, Robert Turner, the UNRWA Gaza director of operations, said on Wednesday.

The main reason behind the rise is the closure of Gaza tunnels by Egypt's interim government, Turner added. These tunnels are the only lifeline for Palestinians living under the Israeli siege.

"Only for food next year, we are appealing for $95 million but that is all our entire expected income, so we need to do a lot of advocacy with the donors," he said.

Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

Comment: Gaza has steadily devolved into an open air extermination camp, not simply an open air prison, due to ever-worsening conditions being imposed via the illegal, brutal Israeli military occupation and blockade (clearly in violation of international law), destruction of most of the smuggling tunnels, lack of basic necessities like clean water, essential medicines and food, combined with ongoing fuel shortages and daily power outages currently at 18 hours per day. Gaza is ripe for an epidemic as filthy disease-causing conditions remain unresolved. Sewage-flooded streets, no electricity, in conjunction with the onset of winter are daunting enough for anyone to contend with, but the lack of international response to this crisis provides an even chillier portrait of our global society: a mostly silent world that continues to sit idly by while innocent people are being picked off, singled out, and collectively punished, tortured, killed, via bullets, bombs, tanks and now, via environmental genocide - this begs the question, yet again, what kind of people are we in this world that allow such inhumanity to happen at all, let alone, to continue?


USA

New York man discovers it is illegal to wash his car in his own driveway

© Police State USA
Garden City - A couple of friends cleaning up a car they had just purchased were threatened by the police for car washing in their own driveway. The reach of the nanny state truly has no bounds when it comes to dictating what people must do on their own private property.

Johnathan Schmidt and Eric Jeer were minding their own business and about to wash a used Volkswagen Golf they purchased together. They were standing in their own private driveway, when a police officer walked onto the property.

"Is there a problem?" said Schmidt.

"The problem... is that your neighbor doesn't like you," said the officer.

"That's not my fault," said Schmidt.

"It is, when he starts calling about things being done against the village ordinance," said Officer Buonaiuto. "Such as doing any kind of work here, or any kind of detailing, like washing the car; things like that you're not allowed to do."

The officer attempted to smile for the camera and be cordial while he enforced the unjust laws. He pulled out a copy of the law and read it to the men, who stood in disbelief. The officer explained that the men were not allowed to do any work so long as they were in "public view."

Arrow Up

Italy's president fears violent insurrection in 2014 but offers no remedy

© EPA
Hundreds of students wrap themselves in an Italian tricolour during a Pitchforks Movement protest in Turin on Wednesday.
Events in Italy are turning serious. President Giorgio Napolitano has warned of "widespread social tension and unrest" in 2014 as the Long Slump drags on.

Those living on the margins are being drawn into "indiscriminate and violent protest, a sterile lurch towards total opposition".

His latest speech is a veritable Jeremiad. Thousands of companies are on the "brink of collapse". Great masses of the working people are on the dole or at risk of losing their jobs. Very high rates of youth unemployment (41pc) are leading to dangerous alienation.

"The recession is still biting hard, and there is a pervasive sense that it will be difficult to escape, to find a way back to full growth," he said.

Now why might that be? Might it not have something to do with the central overriding fact that Italy has a currency overvalued by 20pc or more within EMU: that it is trapped in a 1930s fixed-exchange system run a 1930s central bank that is standing idly by (for political reasons) as M3 growth stalls, credit contracts, and deflation looms?