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Protesters Attack 7 Syrian Embassies Around World

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© The Associated Press
Protesters chant slogans during the funeral of two comrades killed in earlier clashes in Idlib, north Syria, on Saturday.
Protesters attacked seven Syrian embassies around the world following reports of the bloodiest episode yet in Damascus' nearly yearlong crackdown on dissent. Mobs trashed diplomats' offices from London to Australia and set the embassy in Cairo on fire.

Activists say Syrian forces killed more than 200 people in the city of Homs before dawn Saturday, pounding restive neighborhoods with mortars and artillery. The government denies the reports.

Australian police said the mob smashed into the embassy in a diplomatic precinct of Canberra, the capital, on Saturday night, causing extensive damage to the ground floor of the two-story building.

Syrian Charge d'Affaires Jawdat Ali told the Associated Press that 50 men smashed through the front door, destroyed furniture and stole computers. He said the damage bill had yet to be calculated.

Ali blamed media reports of the conflict in Syria for inciting what he described as a "barbarian action" and "terrorism."

Light Sabers

Syria resolution vetoed by Russia and China at United Nations

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Millions turned out for demonstrations in support of President Assad and against Western infiltration of their country through armed groups last summer
Thirteen other council members vote in favour
UK and US react with fury to decision
Homs death toll more than 200, say activists


Russia and China have vetoed a UN security council resolution calling for the Syrian president to step down, provoking a furious reaction.

All 13 other members of the council, including the US, France and Britain, voted in favour of the resolution, which backed an Arab peace plan aimed at stopping the violence in Syria. Russia and China blocked the resolution because of what they perceived to be a potential violation of Syria's sovereignty, which could allow for military intervention or regime change.

William Hague, the foreign secretary, condemned the decision. "More than 2,000 people have died since Russia and China vetoed the last draft resolution in October 2011," he said after the vote. "How many more need to die before Russia and China allow the UN security council to act?

"Those opposing UN security council action will have to account to the Syrian people for their actions, which do nothing to help bring an end to the violence that is ravaging the country. The United Kingdom will continue to support the people of Syria and the Arab League to find an end to the violence and allow a Syrian-led political transition."

Comment: Anywhere you see 'activists' in this article, replace the word for 'propaganda writers for Western powers'.

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Bad Guys

US: CIA Claims Release of its History of the Bay of Pigs Debacle Would "Confuse the Public."

Confused anti-Castro forces captured during the Bay of Pigs invasion. History is being held captive, as well.
© Unknown
Confused anti-Castro forces captured during the Bay of Pigs invasion. History is being held captive, as well.

Late last year, the Central Intelligence Agency explained to Judge Kessler of the US District Court in Washington DC that releasing the final volume of its three-decade-old history of the 1961 Bay of Pigs debacle would "confuse the public," and should be withheld because it is a "predecisional" document. Wow. And I thought that I had heard them all.

On the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the National Security Archive filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the release of a five-volume CIA history of the Bay of Pigs affair. In response to the lawsuit, the CIA negotiated to release three volumes of the history - the JFK Assassination Records Review Board had already released Volume III - with limited redaction, currently available on the National Security Archive's website. At the time, the Director of the National Security Archive's Cuba Documentation project, Peter Kornbluh, quipped that getting historic documents released from the CIA was "the bureaucratic equivalent of passing a kidney stone." He was right. The Agency refused to release the final volume of this history, and the National Security Archive is not giving up on the fight.
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Crusader

US: Romney and the White Horse Prophecy

The White Horse Prophecy foresaw Mormons in politics.
© iStockphoto/66North/Reuters
The White Horse Prophecy foresaw Mormons in politics.

A close look at the roots of Romney's -- and the Mormon church's -- political ambitions

When Mitt Romney received his patriarchal blessing as a Michigan teenager, he was told that the Lord expected great things from him. All young Mormon men - the "worthy males" of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as it is officially known - receive such a blessing as they embark on their requisite journeys as religious missionaries. But at 19 years of age, the youngest son of the most prominent Mormon in American politics - a seventh-generation direct descendant of one of the faith's founding 12 apostles - Mitt Romney had been singled out as a destined leader.

Black Cat

US: 27 of 35 Bush Articles of Impeachment Apply to Obama as Well

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© historyking.com
When Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush on June 9, 2008, the 35 had been selected from drafts of nearly twice that many articles.

President Obama has accumulated his own massive list of high crimes and misdemeanors that were unavailable for Bush's list (thing's like openly murdering U.S. citizens, launching massive drone wars, selectively and abusively prosecuting numerous whistleblowers as spies, holding Bradley Manning naked in isolation, attacking Libya without so much as bothering to lie to Congress, etc.).

Sun

Israel plans to demolish solar panels in village near Hebron

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© unk
Rateb Al-Jabour, told the media that the project provides more than 40 Palestinian families with electricity.
The Israeli occupation authorities have issued notice of their intention to demolish a renewable energy project which generates electricity and represents the only source of lighting for the houses in a Palestinian village near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. The people of Al-Mnazel received the demolition notice advising of Israel's plans to destroy the solar panels which provide them with electricity. The project was established a couple of years ago with funds from the Spanish government.

The coordinator of the People's Committees in the district, Rateb Al-Jabour, told the media that the project provides more than 40 Palestinian families with electricity. He warned that the project's destruction by the Israeli "Civil Administration", "will take the village back to the stone age".

Mr. Al-Jabour added that the Israeli occupation authorities have also given Khalil Al-Nwaja', who lives in Al-Mnazel, notice that his home will be demolished. The tents and caravans, claim the Israelis, do not have a licence.


Light Sabers

Is Israel preparing to attack Iran? The saga continues...

Dangerous times

When the rulers are psychopaths, it's a dangerous time for every being on the planet... planet included too.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has a lot on his mind these days, from cutting the defense budget to managing the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But his biggest worry is the growing possibility that Israel will attack Iran over the next few months.

Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June - before Iran enters what Israelis described as a "zone of immunity" to commence building a nuclear bomb. Very soon, the Israelis fear, the Iranians will have stored enough enriched uranium in deep underground facilities to make a weapon - and only the United States could then stop them militarily.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't want to leave the fate of Israel dependent on American action, which would be triggered by intelligence that Iran is building a bomb, which it hasn't done yet.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak may have signaled the prospect of an Israeli attack soon when he asked last month to postpone a planned U.S.-Israel military exercise that would culminate in a live-fire phase in May. Barak apologized that Israel couldn't devote the resources to the annual exercise this spring.

Eye 1

Google execs defend new privacy policy

Google executives faced tough questions Thursday, in a meeting with members of Congress, about changes to the company's privacy policy scheduled to go into effect March 1.
sign at Google headquarters
© Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
A pedestrian walks by a sign at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

However, the search giant failed to assuage lawmakers' privacy concerns stemming from the company's controversial plans to step up the cross-referencing of data generated by consumers who use its popular online services, says Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., who arranged the closed-door briefing.

Pablo Chavez, Google's public policy director, and Michael Yang, its deputy general counsel, outlined how the company supplies consumers with a number of tools to protect their privacy. Lawmakers questioned whether tools that Google makes available to help consumers control their privacy were user-friendly and effective.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, says Chavez and Yang "danced around actual details, and instead spoke in generalities, highlighting their efforts to 'enhance the user experience' - but at what cost?"

Bono Mack said she expects Google to proceed with its planned March 1 change.

Crusader

US: Alabama State Senator Thinks Increasing Teacher Pay Goes Against A 'Biblical Principle'

Bible
© n/a
According to Alabama state Sen. Shadrack McGill (R), the Bible says that increasing teacher salaries would only lead to less-qualified teachers. McGill said at a prayer breakfast that doubling teachers' salaries - starting pay for Alabama teachers begins at $36,144 - would not help education. In fact, he said that keeping teacher pay low is a "Biblical principle":
"If you double a teacher's pay scale, you'll attract people who aren't called to teach.

"To go in and raise someone's child for eight hours a day, or many people's children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. It better be a calling in your life. I know I wouldn't want to do it, OK?

"And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach. It's just in them to do. It's the ability that God give 'em. And there are also some teachers, it wouldn't matter how much you would pay them, they would still perform to the same capacity.

"If you don't keep that in balance, you're going to attract people who are not called, who don't need to be teaching our children. So, everything has a balance."

Dollar

Predatory Capitalism: Shell profits up 54% to £2m an hour

Union anger grows over recent closure of oil company's pension scheme despite ever-rising corporate earnings

shell
© Newcast/Shell
Shell profits are up 54% for the full year.
Shell has been accused of "moral bankruptcy" by unions after unveiling a 54% rise in full-year profits less than a month after shutting its final salary pension scheme to new employees in Britain.

The oil company reported global annual earnings of $28.6bn (£18bn) - more than £2m an hour - while paying out $10.5bn to shareholders during 2011 and promising to raise dividend levels further in the coming months.

Peter Voser, Shell's chief executive, said "there is more [good profit] to come" as he outlined a new programme of increased global investment as well as cuts that he said would provide even better returns for investors.

"We have worked hard to generate a strong pipeline of investment opportunities for Shell ... All of this is supported by efficiency gains from our continuous improvement programmes," Voser said.

But Europe's largest oil group was attacked for displaying "predatory capitalism" by Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite union. "Shell reminds us of the moral bankruptcy of the corporate elite. The company is needlessly closing its final salary scheme while posting colossal profits," he said. "Rather than provide security to its future staff and still make a profit, it has chosen greed. Shell is not alone: Unilever is needlessly slashing its employees' pension benefits when there is no financial reason for doing so."