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Mon, 19 Nov 2018
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Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin indicted for corruption

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© Credit: Reuters/Enrique De La Osa
Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, talks during an interview in Havana October 20, 2009
A federal grand jury on Friday charged former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin with 21 counts of public corruption, including bribery and fraud related to his dealings with city vendors following the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Nagin, who served as mayor from 2002-2010, stirred national controversy after the powerful hurricane broke local flood walls and inundated most of the city, killing some 1,500 people and wrecking tens of thousands of homes.

Attention

U.N. refugee agency warns of crisis in Mali

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© Marco Gualazzini for The New York Times
One of four refugee families living in a house in Bamako after northern Mali was taken over by Islamist militants last April.
As French and African troops escalated their offensive against Islamist forces in the north of Mali on Friday, the United Nations refugee agency said it was preparing for around 700,000 people to flee the violence, many to neighboring countries.

The United Nations believes that more than 400,000 refugees could flee to neighboring countries and that 300,000 more are likely to be displaced internally in the next few months, said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

These will be in addition to around 376,000 who have fled the turmoil in the past year, she said, including 147,000 who went to Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso and 229,000 the Malian government estimates are displaced within the country.

Malians arriving in neighboring countries since the start of French airstrikes a week ago said they feared the strict application of Muslim Shariah law by Islamist rebels. They have given accounts of executions and amputations and reported that children as young as 10 had been recruited to join the rebel groups.

Nuke

Malian army gains ground in conflict as UN warns of mass refugee exodus

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© AFP Photo / Michel Moutot
French troops from the 21st Rima (French Navy Infantry Regiment) arrive near the town of Markala to secure a strategic bridge on the Niger river on January 16, 2013.
The Malian army has beaten back Islamist rebels entrenched in 2 strategically important towns in central Mali. The UN has predicted a potential exodus of up to 700,000 refugees amid fears the conflict could spill into neighboring countries.

Fighting was reported in the towns of Konna and Diabali in central Mali on Thursday. Islamist rebels seized the strategically important towns on January 10, prompting the Malian government to request aid from France to push the rebels back.

"We have wrested total control of Konna after inflicting heavy losses on the enemy," the Malian army said in a brief statement. Regional security agencies confirmed the claims.

The international community fears that if the rebels reach the capital Bamako they will form "a terrorist safe haven in the heart of Africa."

A hundred Togolese and Nigerian soldiers arrived in Mali late on Thursday to reinforce the 1,400 French soldiers already deployed in the country.

Eye 2

Rush Limbaugh incites violence against women seeking abortion

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As everyone here reading knows, terrorism is a major concern for abortion providers. Just the other night, I went to an event for Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, and one of the doctors speaking wasn't on the advertising materials because the FBI believes the threats against his life are credible. Clinics are routinely vandalized, targeted for arson, and threatened. Doctors and staff are threatened, harassed, and as you all know, assassinated. But by and large, anti-choice militants are more interested in shaming and harassing patients than threatening or killing them. The main reason is that they're interested in keeping up the front of being "pro-life", and killing a pregnant woman means killing that ever-important fetus inside her.

But recently, anti-choicers have grown a bit tired of pretending that this is about "life" and instead tipping their hand more frequently to the fact that this is about punishing women for being sexual beings. The war on contraception makes it hard to pretend you care about fetuses, even though they do try to tie it back to that as often as possible with flimsy excuses, like pretending that cutting off family planning subsidies won't lead to more abortions. So it makes sense that, in this environment, Rush Limbaugh would go ahead and put violence against women seeking abortion - which had previously been a no-no amongsts antis to talk about - on the table.
You know how to stop abortion? Require that each one occur with a gun.

Eye 1

The Country Run by a Mafia: Ukrainian ex-PM Tymoshenko may face life in prison for 'ordering murder'

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© RIA Novosti / Grigoriy Vasilenko
Yulia Tymoshenko.
Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is suspected of 'ordering the murder' of a member of parliament, the Posecutor General said. If found guilty, she will face a life sentence behind bars.

Ukraine's State Prosecutor has completed its investigation of the murder of Deputy Evgeny Sherban, who was shot dead in 1996. Tymoshenko is alleged to have ordered the hit.

"The materials collected during the pre-trial investigation show that Tymoshenko really ordered the murder, along with another former Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko. Today the Prosecutor General's investigation team visited Tymoshenko to give her notice," said Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka.

According to the findings of the investigation, the former PMs Tymoshenko and Lazarenko paid Shcherban's killers $2.8 million. Tymoshenko is currently serving a 7-year prison sentence for abuse of power.

"Both Lazarenko and Tymoshenko made money transactions. The first - $500,000 - Lazarenko personally paid to the group of killers. Then $2,3 million was wired and that transaction was organized by Tymoshenko," the Prosecutor General said.

Question

Darrell Issa probing prosecution of Aaron Swartz, internet pioneer who killed himself

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Darrell Issa
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is investigating the Justice Department's prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who committed suicide on Friday after fighting felony hacking charges for two years. Issa's inquiry comes amid bipartisan expressions of sympathy for Swartz on Capitol Hill, including a statement from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Praising Swartz's work toward "open government and free access to the people," Issa told HuffPost that the government's case against Swartz is problematic enough to warrant further investigation.

"I'm not condoning his hacking, but he's certainly someone who worked very hard," Issa said. "Had he been a journalist and taken that same material that he gained from MIT, he would have been praised for it. It would have been like the Pentagon Papers."

Issa said he didn't have enough information to say whether the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts overprosecuted Swartz. He said he had dispatched an investigator to gather more facts.

Play

FOX News Headline: "Sandy Hook conspiracy theory tests limits of free speech"

sandyhook
The establishment media has recently went into damage control in regards to the Sandy Hook shooting, because a significant number of people have began to show doubt and mistrust in what they are being told. The story doesn't add up, and people are also beginning to learn that the vast majority of mainstream sources are lying to them.

Recently a fox news headline read "Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory Tests Limits of Free Speech", suggesting that such a thing even exists when it comes to the realm of politics, philosophy or controversial news.

The fact that this is even being discussed in this context shows that the media is making subtle hints that the alternative sources and viewpoints must be silenced.

Bad Guys

Authoritarian regimes use Silicon Valley software to censor Internet: report

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Authoritarian regimes around the world are using technology from a Silicon Valley firm for Internet surveillance, filtering and censorship, according to a report by Canadian researchers.

The report this week from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab said devices from California-based security firm Blue Coat Systems were being used in China, Russia, Venezuela and other countries with "a history of concerns over human rights."


Comment: Unsurprisingly, the most authoritarian regimes are left out of this list, those being the United States and the United Kingdom. We can imagine that Silicon Valley is also heavily involved in helping those two countries greatly in creating software to further erode the privacy of its citizens.


"Our findings support the need for national and international scrutiny of Blue Coat implementations in the countries we have identified, and a closer look at the global proliferation of 'dual-use' information and communication technologies," said the report.

Target

Former CIA legal adviser hits Obama over targeted killing

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© US Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt/Wikimedia Commons
President Obama has refused to tell Congress or the American people why he believes the Constitution gives, or fails to deny, him the authority to secretly target and kill American citizens who he suspects are involved in terrorist activities overseas. So far he has killed three that we know of.

Presidents had never before, to our knowledge, targeted specific Americans for military strikes. There are no court decisions that tell us if he is acting lawfully. Mr. Obama tells us not to worry, though, because his lawyers say it is fine, because experts guide the decisions and because his advisers have set up a careful process to help him decide whom he should kill.

He must think we should be relieved.

The three Americans known to have been killed, in two drone strikes in Yemen in the fall of 2011, are Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who was born in New Mexico; Samir Khan, a naturalized American citizen who had lived in New York and North Carolina, and was killed alongside Mr. Awlaki; and, in a strike two weeks later, Mr. Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was born in Colorado.

Pistol

New Taser plan to equip all London police response teams despite misuse and human rights concerns

Taser
© Press TV
The London Metropolitan police are splashing out £800,000 a year to arm officers with the hugely controversial Taser stun guns amid mounting worries over their use and breach of human rights.

The London mayor's office has revealed that they are allocating an annual £817,864 to equip the police with more than 6,500 Taser guns so that all police response teams in the capital are armed with the weapons.

The revelations made after a question by Jenny Jones, Green Party London assembly member, from the mayor's office for policing and crime, follow several cases of Tasers' misuse by officers including on totally innocent people.

"Last October police in Lancashire Tasered a 61-year-old blind man after mistaking his white stick for a samurai sword," Jones said.

A few weeks earlier, James McCarthy, a 22-year-old man from Liverpool, was left critically ill in hospital following a disturbance at Albert Dock after a night out with friends.