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Ex-Libyan Oil Minister Found Dead In Danube Near Vienna

Shukri Ghanem
© unknown
Shukri Ghanem
The body of former Libyan Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem was found in Danube river near the Austrian capital Vienna on Sunday.

Media reports quoting police spokesman Roman Hahslinger said Ghanem's body was found floating in the river on Sunday morning and it bore no external signs of violence. The cause of death could be determined only after a post-mortem examination, he added.

Ghanem, 69, was last seen by his daughter on Saturday night in their apartment in a Vienna suburb. She went to bed and when she woke up he was not in the apartment. She alerted the police who told her the body of her father was found in the Danube, 20 meters from the shore, close to the apartment in Copa Cagrana, a popular waterfront dotted with bars and restaurants.

Cut

Angela Merkel Plans Euro 2012 Boycott if Yulia Tymoshenko Kept in Jail

Image
© Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images
A supporter of Yulia Tymoshenko protests in Kharkiv where Ukraine's opposition leader is in prison and which hosts the Germany-Netherlands Euro 2012 game on 13 June.
Daughter of Ukraine's imprisoned opposition leader calls on Germany to 'save the life' of her mother

Angela Merkel is planning to boycott next month's Euro 2012 football tournament in Ukraine unless imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is released, according to newspaper reports.

The German chancellor's decision came as the former Ukrainian prime minister's daughter made an impassioned plea to the German government to "save the life" of her mother, who is has spent 10 days on hunger strike.

"Save my mother's life before it's too late," Eugenia Tymoshenko urged the German leadership in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung newspaper. "The fate of my mother and that of my country are now one and the same thing: if she dies, democracy dies with her".

Tymoshenko, 52, a former leader of Ukraine's Orange Revolution who is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges that she abused her powers in a Russian energy deal, went on hunger strike to protest against alleged abuse in custody.

She claimed last week that prison guards punched her in the stomach and twisted her limbs while taking her to hospital against her will to be treated for a chronic back problem. Bruises on her right arm, elbow, hand and stomach have been documented in photographs.

Star of David

In surprise, Official Says Israeli Prime Minister Exploring Early Elections

Benjamin Netanyahu
© The Associated Press/Ronen Zvulun/Pool
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, April 29, 2012
In a political development with global implications, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday signaled he soon might call early elections - a decision that could put Mideast peace efforts on hold for months and cast more uncertainty on Israel's deliberations over whether to attack Iran's nuclear program.

Netanyahu has presided over an awkwardly diverse yet unusually resilient coalition for three years and is suddenly beset by challenges. But while he is increasingly under fire for his handling of Iran and the Palestinians, it is more mundane domestic complications that appear to be driving the coalition unrest.

The Supreme Court has ordered the government to dismantle illegal West Bank settlement outposts - a move that faces tough opposition from hard-line coalition allies who have a history of toppling even right-leaning governments like Netanyahu's over such issues.

A Supreme Court-ordered Aug. 1 deadline to scrap draft exemptions for tens of thousands of religious seminary students - an issue dividing the country's Jews into increasingly antagonistic camps - also threatens the coalition.

Mass protests also are expected for the second summer in a row over Israel's high cost of living.

Mr. Potato

French Jewish Leader in Hot Water Over Apparent Endorsement of Sarkozy

Image
© Reuters
Richard Prasquier, center, with President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, and Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande.
Political analysts says in Haaretz op-ed that Sarkozy is expected to lose, but the head of the French-Jewish umbrella group wrote he was worried by a possible victory by his opponent.


The leader of the French-Jewish umbrella group CRIF has attracted critical headlines following a piece he wrote in Haaretz apparently endorsing France's incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"Richard Prasquier lost his honor" was just one of a dozen headlines attacking or quoting the CRIF leader after his piece appeared, explaining why he thinks Sarkozy is still the best candidate for the presidency. "He has a deep knowledge of Israel and a deep sympathy for this country," wrote Prasquier.

Star of David

Sarkozy Seeks Franco-Israelis' Support

Image
© Agence France-Presse
The conference
French president, which is facing electoral battle, urges dual nationals living in Israel to vote en masse in second round of presidential elections

With only a week left to the second round of the presidential elections in France, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is trying everything to close the gap between him and Socialist Party frontrunner Francois Hollande.

The first round has give Hollande an 8% lead.

Sarkozy has reportedly appealed in a letter to dual French-Israeli citizens, urging them to exercise their voting right in the second round, set to be held on Sunday.

Health

British Red Cross Doctor Kidnapped in Pakistan Found Beheaded

Khalil Rasjed Dale
© British Red Cross/PA Wire
Khalil Rasjed Dale
Quetta, Pakistan - The beheaded body of a kidnapped British doctor working for the International Committee of the Red Cross was found by the roadside on Sunday in the southwestern Pakistan city of Quetta, police and Red Cross officials said.

Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was abducted by suspected militants on January 5 while on his way home from work.

"The ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act," ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said in a statement. "All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil's family and friends."

Police discovered Dale wrapped in plastic near a western bypass road in the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province where Baluch separatist militants are fighting a protracted insurgency for more autonomy.

His name was written on the white plastic bag with black marker.

"A sharp knife was used to sever his head from the body," said Safdar Hussain, the first doctor to examine the body. "He was killed about 12 hours ago."

Dale had worked for the ICRC and the British Red Cross in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq before coming to Pakistan. He had been managing a health programme for Baluchistan for almost a year when he was abducted, the ICRC statement said.

"We are devastated," Daccord said. "Khalil was a trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member who significantly contributed to the humanitarian cause."

Newspaper

Media Disinformation and the Use of Language

disinformation graphic
© Creative-i
The mainstream media utilize many words and phrases in reporting that have been specifically chosen, either by the media or a source, to misrepresent or distort the contexts to which they are applied. Unfortunately, the alternate media often picks up those words (or phrases) and uses them in their own reporting, without due consideration for the perpetuation of the distortions and misrepresentations.

Examples include:

"Rubber bullets"

The image presented to the public is one of nice, rubber balls banging into protesters, creating stinging pain for use in crowd control. This is not at all the case, though they are generally categorized as "less lethal", if used correctly e.g. no head shots. For a good perspective, see here1. At minimum, these should be called rubber-coated bullets. But even the use of "rubber" causes distortion. Better might be "hard-coated steel bullets". I would also observe that with enough muzzle velocity (which the firing rifles usually have) and at close enough range, just about any material can be lethal. The best example would be tornados ramming straws into tree trunks and lumber through building walls.

"Tear gas"

Though "tears" may have been the main human reaction to this gas when it was invented, the toxicity of the current CS gas2 is considerably more advanced, causing all sorts of negative reactions in a human's breathing system, eyes, skin, etc. Its "non-lethal" characterization has also been shown to be often untrue. CS gas is the most commonly used and "CS-gas" could be used instead of "tear gas", or perhaps even better, "toxic CS gas".

Question

Gaddafi funded Sarkozy's 2007 Election Campaign? Sarkozy accused of receiving illegal political funding

Sarkozy
© Unknown
A French news website has claimed President Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign was partially funded by the government of the late Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The Paris-based website Mediapart has alleged the Sarkozy campaign was given an estimated US $66 million.

Mediapart also suggested an official of Gaddafi's regime, intelligence chief Moussa Koussa, authorised secret payments.

In France, politicians are banned from taking funding from foreign states.

Last month, when the allegations were first hinted at, President Sarkozy dismissed them as "grotesque."

People

Power really does corrupt as scientists claim it's as addictive as cocaine

Image
© Floris Leeuwenberg/The Cover Story/Corbis
Addictive: Scientists have found power has the same effect on the brain as cocaine

More than a hundred years after noted historian Baron John Acton coined the phrase 'power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely' scientists claim the saying is biologically true.

The feeling of power has been found to have a similar effect on the brain to cocaine by increasing the levels of testosterone and its by-product 3-androstanediol in both men and women.

This in turn leads to raised levels of dopamine, the brain's reward system called the nucleus accumbens, which can be very addictive.

Cocaine works in a similar way, which can have varied effects from increasing alertness, confidence, energy, feelings of well-being and euphoria, but also anxiety, paranoia and restlessness.

Power has almost identical effects to cocaine and too much of it can produce too much dopamine leading to more negative effects such as arrogance and impatience.

Sherlock

Mystery Deepens in Bizarre British Spy Death Case

Image
© AP Photo
This undated file image made available in London Wednesday Sept. 1, 2010, by the Metropolitan Police, shows British intelligence official Gareth Williams.
Of the myriad questions surrounding the case of the British codebreaker who was found naked and stuffed into a duffle bag in 2010, today expert witnesses gave at least one answer: he most likely didn't put himself in there.

Gareth Williams, who worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, was discovered nude inside a padlocked duffle bag that had been placed in the bathtub of his London apartment in 2010. After a nearly two-year investigation, Scotland Yard has been unable to solve the case.

A new courthouse inquest is readdressing the case and today video footage was shown of two experts attempting -- and failing -- to lock themselves into a bag identical to the one in which Gareth Williams was found.

Peter Faulding, an expert in rescue from confined spaces, said today he failed to lock himself into the bag after 300 attempts.