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Megaphone

Serbian filmmaker: Where West comes to spread democracy, disaster follows

© Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich
Emir Kusturica
Belgian weekly Le Vif spoke with Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica who said that the Ukrainian conflict was staged by the United States and it reminds him of the war in his native Bosnia.

On the occasion of the release of his new collection of short films, Emir Kusturica, a celebrated Serbian filmmaker internationally recognized for a number of acclaimed films, spoke with Belgian weekly Le Vif about the situation in Ukraine, which reminds him of the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

Kusturica blamed the United States for not only breaking the promise given to Mikhail Gorbachev about not expanding NATO to Eastern Europe, but also for staging the conflict in Ukraine by helping to start demonstrations on the Maidan Square. Kusturica said the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict was similar to the start of the Bosnian War, which started in Kusturica's hometown of Sarajevo. In Kiev, demonstrations turned violent when snipers started shooting at the crowd. Initially, the government of Viktor Yanukovych was blamed for shooting at the crowd; however, soon the story became murky, after reports appeared that foreign mercenaries may have been hired to shoot at the crowd on the Maidan. Similar events took place in Bosnia: unknown snipers killed several protesters and everyone accused the Serbs, but in the end nobody really knew who had sent the snipers, Kusturica said.
Extinguisher

Dubai 'Torch' residential tower engulfed in flames

© Rhea Saran (twitter @Really_Rhea)

A massive blaze has engulfed the 'Marina Torch' skyscraper in Dubai, forcing hundreds of people to flee the 336-meter-high tower - one of the tallest residential buildings in the world. It took firefighters over two hours to bring the fire under control.

The fire initially started in the middle of the tower, rapidly spreading across some 15 floors, intensifying and reigniting with each gust of wind, according to photos and videos from the scene.


Comment: What, the building didn't collapse into its own footprint at freefall speed?

Water

How Brazil's water crisis can metastasize into societal self-destruction

Brazil drought 3
© Associated Press
If you take a look through history, you'll see the rise and fall of numerous civilizations. Many armchair historians are quick to point to these examples, and say their decline was caused by drought, or war, or economic collapse. But the truth is, it's never just one disaster that causes their collapse. It's often a series of problems that compound and feed each other, begetting more calamities until the system buckles.

It's easy to notice these sorts of conditions being inflicted on America today, but I think the best example in the Western Hemisphere is probably Brazil. Right now they're going through one of the worst droughts in history, and if current rates of consumption continue, cities like Sao Paulo may be out of water in 4-6 months. After three straight years of drought, there's even talk of rationing the water to such an extreme degree, that they'll have to shut off the municipal supply to the public for 5 days a week.

Comment: See also:

Brazil drought crisis deepens in Sao Paulo and other areas

Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, faces water rationing amid drought

Health

WHO: Ebola virus death toll in West Africa reaches 9,442

© EPA/STR
The death toll from the current Ebola outbreak has reached 9,442. As many as 23,371 are infected, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on Friday.

These cases were reported from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. In line with statistics, the maximum number of Ebola-related deaths and cases has been registered in Liberia — 3,947 cumulative deaths and 9,096 cumulative cases. Liberia is followed by Sierra Leone (3,423 deaths and 11,155 cases) and Guinea (2,072 deaths and 3,120 cases).

The number of Ebola deaths in these three countries rose by 189 and the number of cases rose by 372 since February 13.

Separate cases have also been registered in Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, Great Britain and the United States. In most of these countries the number of Ebola-related cases does not exceed ten, with the only exception of Nigeria, where 20 people are infected by Ebola virus and eight have died.

The World Health Organization describes Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) as "a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90%." Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. The incubation period is 2 to 21 days. There is no known cure or vaccine for the disease. The only treatment offered is "supportive intensive care."
Heart - Black

In Tanzania, 1 year old albino child kidnapped, mutilated and killed by 'witchdoctors'

© Vice
Josephat Torner is an albino rights activist in Tanzania and has been attacked for speaking out against the brutal murder of other albinos in his country.
A one-year-old albino boy, abducted from his home in northwestern Tanzania over the weekend, was found murdered on Tuesday with his "arms and legs hacked off," according to the local police chief.
This gruesome discovery shows that despite new laws banning the witch doctors who prey upon them, people with albinism are still vulnerable in the East African nation.

In Tanzania the body parts of albinos are prized by witch doctors and their superstitious followers as they are said to bring wealth and luck when used in charms. A complete set of body parts can be sold for as much as $75,000, according to the Red Cross.


Comment: The question here is who is paying that kind of money for albino body parts.


This victim, Yohana Bahati, was kidnapped from his family home in the Geita region by an armed gang. Police said his mother, Esther, was struck with a machete as she tried to protect him.

"Unfortunately this family resides in a protected forest area," Joseph Konyo, the regional police commander, told Reuters. "It was extremely difficult for the police to immediately arrest the suspected robbers." Two other albino children who were in the house were not taken.


Comment: And it seems that the practice is protected by local law enforcement.


Yohana's mutilated body was discovered a few miles from his home, according to the BBC.

Fueled by superstition, people are violently attacking albinos in Tanzania.

Albinism, a hereditary condition that prevents people from producing pigment in their skin, hair, and eyes, is much more common in parts of Africa than the rest of the world. While an estimated one in 20,000 people are affected globally, this figure rises to one in every 1,400 Tanzanians.

Abductions and killings have become common in Tanzania — over 72 albinos have been murdered in the country since 2000. And the practice is showing no signs of stopping.

VICE News recently traveled to Tanzania to meet with Josephat Torner, an activist fighting for the rights and safety of albinos in his country.

Comment: Unfortunately, if there's a lot of money involved, you can be assured that the government won't move mountains to stop the practice. There may even be some high strangeness involved.

Star of David

Dershowitz blames 15-year old victim in child trafficking case; a 'prostitute' who 'made her own decisions'

© Sun Sentinel
We have picked up news about the sexual allegations against Alan Dershowitz because Dershowitz is such an outspoken defender of Israel and the matter has inevitably affected his influence in the foreign-policy arena. And Dershowitz will surely always get a forum, this piece on the case in the Harvard Law Record that came out yesterday, titled "Harvard Law Professor Blames Victim in Child Trafficking Case," is another sign that the Harvard Law professor emeritus is being criticized in venues that he might once have considered home turf.

An excerpt from the article by Kerry Richards and Anna Joseph:
Dershowitz denies abusing the child trafficking victim; yet instead of acknowledging the gravity of the crime and showing compassion - even while denying involvement - Dershowitz's response has been shockingly vicious and sexist. In a recent interview, Dershowitz said his accuser was "a prostitute," and questioned her fitness as a mother. He went on to admit he had no qualms about calling a 15-year-old girl a prostitute, claiming "[s]he was not victimized ... she made her own decisions in life." Those are decisions that the law says no 15-year-old is old enough to make. One day after that interview, 38 Harvard Law School professors joined the many well-connected people who have tried to protect Dershowitz and [convicted sex offender Jeffrey] Epstein, releasing an open letter lauding Dershowitz's "courage."

Where is the focus on the plaintiff's courage? On her horrifying experience, and on the experiences of the millions of other minors bought and sold for sex each year? When rape victims do come forward, where is the focus on ensuring we don't re-victimize them in the media?

Brutalized by Epstein, betrayed by federal prosecutors who refused to pursue justice, Jane Doe #3 was then publicly shamed by Dershowitz. Shaming rape and human trafficking victims compounds injustice, violating those who report and discouraging others from doing so.
Eye 2

Outrage over plans to pay Turkish men 'prostitute allowance'

© AFP
An attorney in Turkey has caused widespread outrage after suggesting single men should be given a government pension to pay for sex with prostitutes.

Yazuv Balkan put forward the plans to pay single men a 'sexual necessity credit' of 75 Turkish lira (£19) per week as part of an attempt to curb the levels of rape and violence against women in Turkey.

Comment: Some twisted psychopathic thinking here!

Galaxy

Professor Stephen Hawking believes we should explore space as 'life insurance' for the human race

Professor Stephen Hawking believes the future of the human race depends on our abilities to explore space.

During a tour of London's Science Museum, the 73-year-old said that landing on the moon gave us new perspectives of life on Earth, and this outlook must develop if we are to survive.

He also said aggression should be weeded out of the human race and replaced by empathy to avoid a major nuclear war ending civilisation as we know it.

Professor Hawking made the comments while escorting an American visitor around the museum as part of a 'Guest of Honour' prize.

Comment: Moving to another planet will not help us learn to overcome the psychopathic nature of society but only bring it along with us.

Star of David

Students allege "travesty of justice" as Ohio university muzzles debate on Israel divestment

After several hours of debate on Tuesday night, the student government at the University of Toledo in Ohio shut down a hearing on a resolution to divest from firms abetting Israel's crimes.

Just before the vote was to take place by the student senate, the university's Student Judicial Council, part of the student government, announced that it had ruled a resolution calling for divestment "unconstitutional" on the grounds that it was "discriminatory" and "one-sided." The ruling allowed no recourse or debate and the entire vote was then scrapped.


Comment: That's democracy for you!


As The Electronic Intifada reported, the university administration had insisted that discussions relating to the resolution be conducted in a secretive manner.

Comment: Any criticism or opposition "of that shitty little country", as French diplomat Daniel Bernard called it, will be met with dirty tricks.

Stormtrooper

Out of control: No charges for cops who broke into innocent man's home while he slept and shot him 16 times


Dustin Theoharis shot 16 times by police.
Dustin Theoharis was asleep in his bed when a Department of Corrections officer, and King County Sherriff's deputy rushed into his house on February 11, 2012. The two cops busted into his bedroom and began to unload their pistols on this unarmed man.

It is estimated that the two officers fired over 20 rounds of which 16 landed in Mr. Theoharis. According to Theoharis's attorney, Erik Heipt, "Theoharis suffered "a broken shoulder, 2 broken arms, broken legs, he had a compression fracture to his spine, damage to his liver and spleen."

To add insult to attempted murder, Theoharis was not the guy the police were after. According to King 5 News Seattle, the King County Sheriff's deputy and Washington Department of Corrections officer who shot him were at the house to arrest a man who'd violated his parole.
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