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Panic Rips Through Global Markets: Eurozone Crisis and Fears Over U.S. Economy Trigger Worst Day of Trading in Three Years

  • FTSE closes down 3.4% - a 12-month low
  • Dow Jones also falls by more than 350 points in morning trading
  • Spanish and Italian markets drop 3%
  • BoE holds interest rates at 0.5% for 29th month in row
Stock markets plunged yesterday in the biggest rout since the height of the financial crisis three years ago.

Panic tore through global financial centres, raising fears of a new world recession.

The FTSE 100 index saw £50billion wiped off the value of Britain's biggest companies, bringing a total fall of £125billion in the space of only a week.
© ReutersMajor losses: A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange contemplates the eighth biggest fall in Wall Street history yesterday


NSA Wants to Hire Hackers at DefCon

© The Escapist
The National Security Agency descends on the Las Vegas hacker convention looking for fresh blood to turn into "cyber warriors."

DefCon is an annual gathering of hackers in Sin City which incongruously allows people who've only conversed in IRC chat rooms to meet face-to-face. The convention will cover all of the hot topics in hackerdom today, including panels on techniques and a fair amount of boasting of hacker exploits. The cost to attend is $150 cash - no credit cards or trackable currency allowed - but many hackers will walk away from DefCon with a fancy new job. High-tech corporations always have a presence trying to recruit the often intelligent hacker community to work for them, but perhaps the most intriguing story is that the oft-misunderstood government agency - the NSA - is also entreating former hackers to become cyber warriors in the fight against America's enemies online.


Air France had policy to protect female employees from Strauss-Kahn

© UnknownDominique Strauss-Kahn
Air France issued orders for only male staff to serve Dominique Strauss-Kahn when the former IMF boss -- accused of attempted rape in New York -- travelled on its planes, a report said Thursday.

Le Parisien newspaper also said that lawyers of Strauss-Kahn's accuser were calling for testimony from Air France female stewards who allegedly suffered inappropriate behaviour by him.

A spokesman for the airline however responded to the report by saying that "Air France formally denies having given any instruction about the composition of its crews."

Le Parisien said lawyers of Nafissatou Diallo -- the African hotel maid who made the accusations against the ex-International Monetary Fund chief -- had received at least two testimonies from air crew who had been importuned.

The paper quoted the lawyers as saying that "this inexplicable mindset which enables him to abuse women is further proof which gives credibility to the aggression suffered by Ms Diallo on May 14."


State-sponsored 5-year global cyberattack uncovered

Spy agency probably the real (cyber) slim shady

A five-year operation targeting more than 70 global companies, governments and non-profit organisations was probably the work of an intelligence agency, according to McAfee.

The malware-powered cyber-snooping campaign - dubbed Operation Shady RAT - began in mid-2006 with a series of attacks that affected some organisations for up to 28 months. An analysis by McAfee, published on Tuesday, said that the malware had affected firms across 14 countries.

Victims included the US federal government, satellite communications companies, the Canadian government, the Vietnamese government, the Taiwanese government, the UN and more. Others affected included 13 defence contractors, three construction firms, four IT outfits (including two that specialised in information security) and five sporting organisations.

"The interest in the information held at the Asian and Western national Olympic Committees, as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency in the lead-up and immediate follow-up to the 2008 Olympics was particularly intriguing and potentially pointed a finger at a state actor behind the intrusions, because there is likely no commercial benefit to be earned from such hacks," writes Mitri Alperovitch, McAfee's VP of threat research.


Judge Allows American to Sue Rumsfeld Over Torture

Donald Rumsfeld
© The Associated Press / Dennis CookIn this Aug. 1, 2007, file photo, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. A federal judge says Rusmfeld can be sued personally for damages by a former U.S. military contractor who says he was tortured during nine months in prison in Iraq.
A judge is allowing an Army veteran who says he was imprisoned unjustly and tortured by the U.S. military in Iraq to sue former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld personally for damages.

The veteran's identity is withheld in court filings, but he worked for an American contracting company as a translator for the Marines in the volatile Anbar province before being detained for nine months at Camp Cropper, a U.S. military facility near the Baghdad airport dedicated to holding "high-value" detainees.

The government says he was suspected of helping get classified information to the enemy and helping anti-coalition forces enter Iraq. But he was never charged with a crime and says he never broke the law.

Lawyers for the man, who is in his 50s, say he was preparing to come home to the United States on annual leave when he was abducted by the U.S. military and held without justification while his family knew nothing about his whereabouts or even whether he was still alive.

Bad Guys

Another Invention of the "World's Most Humane Army": Declassified Missile Looks You in the Eye Before it Blows You Apart

The Tamuz uses an advanced electro-optic camera that transmits the image of its target back to operators inside the APC, who then manually drive it toward the target. Tamuz teams work closely with an artillery unit, which operates Hermes 450 reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles that provide the intelligence on the targets that are then attacked by the Tamuz missile.

© Unknown
David Cenciotti also notes the crafty way in which the missile lofts itself high above a battlefield before hurtling down toward an unlucky person, place, or thing:
It initially climbs to an altitude that give its camera a good point of view of the presumed target area; then it moves (slowly) towards the target area (it seems to hover) and, as soon as a positive identification is obtained, it is guided to hit the target.

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US: 'Sinkhole State:' Hawaii is in the 47th Worst Financial Position of All 50 States

© unknown
The non-partisan Institute for Truth in Accounting has identified Hawaii as a "Sinkhole" state because it is one of five states in the worst financial position in the country.

While Hawaii has $19.5 billion worth of assets, only $3.9 billion are available to pay $15.4 billion of bills as they come due. Each taxpayer's financial burden is $25,000.

"State officials say their budgets are balanced but do not include employee pension and healthcare obligations in their calculations," stated Sheila Weinberg, Founder and CEO of the Institute. "Unlike the federal government, states can't 'print money' to cover costs and shore up their financial conditions."

The Institute's newly released "Financial State of the States" Report reviewed each state's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) to offset assets against liabilities. For the first time, a detailed analysis of pension and healthcare liabilities was completed which uncovered the states' actual obligations. From these calculations, the Institute was able to determine the true Taxpayer's Burden for all fifty states.

Star of David

Israel Court Convicts Palestinian Youth of Murder

© pls48.netHakim Awwad (Right) and Amjad Awwad
An Israeli military court convicted an 18-year-old Palestinian on Tuesday for the murder in March of a family of settlers, military sources said.

The young man identified as Hakim Awwad from the Awarta village in the West Bank confessed to the March 11 murder of the family of five in the Itamar settlement, the sources said.

Awwad was also convicted of carrying illegal weapons but it was not clear when a sentence will be handed down, the sources said.

According to the charge sheet, Awwad and his 19-year-old cousin Amjad Awwad acted of their own free will, although the pair are members of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Amjad is also on trial.

On the night of March 11, Ehud and Ruthy Fogel were stabbed to death along with their three children, including a three-month-old baby, in a murder that sparked international condemnation.

Source: Agence France-Presse


'Science' and America's Police State: Phony Scientist Rationalizes Latest TSA Outrage

© unknown

So, you're sick and tired of being hassled by Transportation "Security" Administration (TSA) thugs, who fondle your "junk" and force 95-year-old grandmothers to take off their adult diapers?

Well, that's tough - because it's about to get worse.

Since 2006, the TSA has been developing a $1 billion program called "Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques" [.pdf] (SPOT) whose proponents - notably, one Rafi Ron, an Israeli airline security "expert" - claim it enables screeners to detect dangerous passengers via nonverbal signals, including facial expressions. The program is undergoing a test run, starting today [Tuesday] at Boston's Logan airport. So before you wrinkle your nose at that Epsilon-Minus Semi Moron rifling through your suitcase, please be aware that the "micro-expressions" you exhibit can and will be held against you.

As the TSA gropers assaulted Americans at airports, the outraged response of the public was taken up by some conservatives, who promptly declared that we need to organize our air safety campaign along Israeli lines - and now they've gotten their wish. Which just goes to underscore the old aphorism about being careful what you wish for.


Der Spiegel: Mossad behind Iran hit

© UnknownDarioush Rezaei
German newspaper quotes Israeli intelligence source saying that Iranian nuclear scientist's assassination was Mossad chief Tamir Pardo's first major operation. Report claims Mossad opposed to IAF calls to strike Iran nuke sites.

The assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran last week was the first major operation of Mossad director Tamir Pardo, the Der Spiegel website reported Monday.

The article, which quotes an Israeli intelligence source, surveys the series of assassination attempts involving Iranian scientists in the past 18 months and points to the Mossad as the organization at the forefront of Israel's campaign against an Iranian nuclear bomb.