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Fri, 23 Apr 2021
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US: Democrats blast cuts to tax credit

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© Joel Pett
Profit and Loss in America
Republicans on the Legislature's budget committee drew fire Tuesday night for approving cuts to a tax credit for low-income families, while also expanding tax breaks for businesses.

The Joint Finance Committee approved reductions to the Earned Income Tax Credit, trimming the state benefit for low-income families with multiple children. The provision in the proposed biennial budget would also increase the benefit for single child households.

Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) called the changes a tax increase on the working poor. He says it creates a "caste system" where the tax code benefits those who make the most when combined with other proposals the budget panel also approved Tuesday. The additional measures allow the deferral of taxes on capital gains that are reinvested in the state and also make changes to Wisconsin's combined reporting law.

Republican co-chair Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) says those measures are a major part of efforts to restart the economic engine of the state and to create new jobs.

The Legislature is expected to vote on the complete budget later this month.

Comment: So taking money from poor people so they have no money to spend will somehow stimulate the economy and "restart the economic engine"?

As Mr. Carlin explains, the poor and middle class are people of modest means. Taking money from the poor does not help the economy.




Attention

Spirit Of Rachel Corrie Still Unable To Berth

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While the Malaysian and Egyptian governments had publicly agreed on May 16 that the humanitarian aid ship MV Finch, also known as the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, could berth at the El-Arish Port, this has not taken place as yet.

Matthias Chang, the mission leader on board the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, said in an e-mail from the vessel today that the Egyptian government had yet to allow the ship to berth and the crew to disembark and unload the PVC pipes needed for restoring the sewerage system in Gaza, which is now home to 1.5 million Palestinians living in an area measuring 360 sq km in all.

Chang, who is perplexed by the foot-dragging by the Egyptians, said since May 17, the Spirit of Rachel Corrie had been turned into "a prison ship for all intents and purposes".

Bad Guys

U.S. Files New Charges Against September 11 Accused

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
© AFP/Getty Images
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
U.S. military prosecutors have filed new charges against the self-described mastermind of the September 11 attacks in 2001, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four alleged co-conspirators held at the Guantanamo detention camp.

The conspiracy and mass murder charges were expected to be announced later on Tuesday, according to sources involved in the war crimes tribunals at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

During President George W. Bush's administration, all five defendants had been charged in the tribunals with plotting the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.

Bizarro Earth

Egyptians Decry 'Virginity Tests' on Detained Protesters, Urge Military Rulers to Investigate

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© unknown
Virginity Test Protests
Activists and bloggers are pressing Egypt's military rulers to investigate accusations of serious abuses against protesters, including claims that soldiers subjected female detainees to so-called "virginity tests."

Bloggers say they will hold a day of online protest Wednesday to voice their outrage, adding to criticism of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country from ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.

In the face of the criticism, four journalists along with a prominent blogger were summoned for questioning by the military prosecutor, according to a rights group. They were released without charges.

Hossam al-Hamalawy, the blogger, tweeted: "The visit to the military prosecutor became a chat, where they wanted clarifications for my accusations."

The virginity test allegations first surfaced after a March 9 rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square that turned violent when men in plainclothes attacked protesters and the army intervened forcefully to clear the square.

One woman who was arrested spoke out about her treatment, and Amnesty International further documented the abuse allegations in a report that found 18 female detainees were threatened with prostitution charges and forced to undergo virginity tests. They were also beaten up and given electric shocks, the report said.

Bug

Canada: Royal Newlyweds Called 'Parasites' by Quebec MNA

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© Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
The royal couple's planned visit to Montreal and Quebec City is already ruffling some feathers.
Quebec's Liberal government demands an apology

Quebec politician Amir Khadir is not pleased the royal newlyweds will be visiting Montreal and Quebec City during their upcoming 9-day Canadian tour.

Khadir, who is a member of Quebec's national assembly (MNA) and co-leader of Quebec Solidaire, referred to the royals as "parasites" in an interview with the Journal de Québec newspaper.

"What a waste of public money. All this to welcome those parasites," Khadir is quoted as saying in the article.

A portion of the trip's cost will be covered by Quebec taxpayers.

Radar

Al-Jazeera footage captures Western intelligence agents directing Libyan 'rebels'


Five of Gaddafi's generals are among latest defectors to rebels as South African president seeks to broker ceasefire

Armed westerners have been filmed on the front line with rebels near Misrata in the first apparent confirmation that foreign special forces are playing an active role in the Libyan conflict.

A group of six westerners are clearly visible in a report by al-Jazeera from Dafniya, described as the westernmost point of the rebel lines west of the town of Misrata. Five of them were armed and wearing sand-coloured clothes, peaked caps, and cotton Arab scarves.

The sixth, apparently the most senior of the group, was carrying no visible weapon and wore a pink, short-sleeve shirt. He may be an intelligence officer. The group is seen talking to rebels and then quickly leaving on being spotted by the television crew.

Family

'US dropped cluster bombs on Misratah'

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© Unknown
A Human rights investigation in Libya has found that it was the US and its Western allies who cluster bombed the troubled city of Misratah back in April.
The HRI said it has convincing evidence that the cluster bombing blamed on pro-Gaddafi forces was actually carried out by the US navy.

The report says at the time of the attack, Human Rights Watch and a reporter working for US media immediately blamed forces loyal to Libya's embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi for the cluster bombing that threatened civilian lives.

According to the report, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were quick to condemn the act.

Clinton called the cluster bombing of urban areas an act that posed a lot of challenges to both NATO and the opposition.

Vader

And the most evil country on the planet award goes to... UK training Saudi forces used to crush Arab uprising

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© demand-design
British military personnel run courses for snipers
Human rights groups furious over Riyadh link


Britain is training Saudi Arabia's national guard - the elite security force deployed during the recent protests in Bahrain - in public order enforcement measures and the use of sniper rifles. The revelation has outraged human rights groups, which point out that the Foreign Office recognises that the kingdom's human rights record is "a major concern".

In response to questions made under the Freedom of Information Act, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed that British personnel regularly run courses for the national guard in "weapons, fieldcraft and general military skills training, as well as incident handling, bomb disposal, search, public order and sniper training". The courses are organised through the British Military Mission to the Saudi Arabian National Guard, an obscure unit that consists of 11 British army personnel under the command of a brigadier.

The MoD response, obtained yesterday by the Observer, reveals that Britain sends up to 20 training teams to the kingdom a year. Saudi Arabia pays for "all BMM personnel, as well as support costs such as accommodation and transport".

Bad Guys

Egypt to Expel Iranian Envoy in Spy Probe

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© Reuters
Haydar Moslehi, Iran's intelligence minister, said that the diplomat, not pictured, was released
Diplomat to be deported within 48 hours following brief detention on allegations of espionage and setting up spy rings.

Egypt is expelling an Iranian diplomat who was briefly detained and questioned on charges of illegally gathering intelligence for Tehran, security officials said.

Qassem al Husseini, the diplomat, was arrested on Saturday in his Cairo home, after the Egyptian intelligence tracked his movements, Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reported.

Husseini was charged with attempting to set up spy rings in Egypt and other Arab countries.

He was released after a two-hour detention, Haydar Moslehi, Iran's intelligence minister, said on Sunday, according to Iranian state television's website. Moslehi also said that Egyptian authorities apologised for the incident - though he did not elaborate.

The diplomat, who was working for Iran's Interest Section in the Egyptian capital, was accused of being an agent for Tehran's intelligence services, gathering information and spying on Egypt since the end of its January 25 revolution, our correspondent, reporting from Cairo, said.

He was also accused of attempting to gather information on Gulf Arab countries by recruiting agents and informants in Egypt, Mohyeldin said.

Egyptian security officers found documents, a computer and spying devices banned in Egypt at Husseini's apartment, a security official told the Associated Press news agency on Sunday.

The diplomat will be deported within 48 hours, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to share details.

Document

Bureaucrats 'Obligated' to Use Harper Government in Place of Government of Canada

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© The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
Press releases issued by federal government departments are shown in Ottawa, Thursday March 3, 2011. One of the ironies of the election that finally delivered Stephen Harper's Conservatives a majority government on May 2 is that it appears to have vanquished the "Harper Government."The controversial term has almost disappeared from official Government of Canada news releases after suddenly blanketing departmental communications in the months leading up to the fall of the Conservative minority March 25.
One of the ironies of the election that finally delivered Stephen Harper's Conservatives a majority government on May 2 is that it appears to have vanquished the "Harper Government."

The controversial term has almost disappeared from official Government of Canada news releases after suddenly blanketing departmental communications in the months leading up to the fall of the Conservative minority March 25.

Now, internal government documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that civil servants were being ordered by minister's offices to use the term, and that they were "obligated to do so if asked."

"Just curious when we changed from Government of Canada to Harper Government? Is this a new direction?" a regional communications director in Fisheries and Oceans asked her director general in an email on Feb. 16.

"I've been asked by several folks internally and now am getting calls (from) Comms colleagues in other federal departments. ..."

The inquiry came more than two weeks before The Canadian Press publicly exposed the new nomenclature.

Her superior, Susan Garner-Barklay, director general of communications for DFO, responded: "Long story. Will fill you in over the phone," before adding, "This is not a change in practice."