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China City To Install 500,000 Surveillance Cams

© AGP/GETTY IMAGESA group of defendants face sentencing for a variety of charges linked to organised crime in 2009
The Chinese mega-city of Chongqing plans to build a $2.6 billion (£1.6 billion) security system that will be one of the world's largest with 500,000 surveillance cameras, China's state media said on Tuesday.

Wang Zhijun, the city's police chief, said the system would be the world's largest new security network since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, the Global Times reported.

The system would dwarf a network of 40,000 security cameras installed in the capital of China's far-western Xinjiang region last year, following deadly July 2009 clashes between Muslim Uighurs and members of the majority Han group.

Chongqing's more than 500,000 cameras, which are due to be installed by 2012, will mainly be used for crime prevention, emergency controls and rescue operations, a police spokesman told the Global Times.

2 + 2 = 4

Gubmint and how Gubmint works

© Despair.com
Gubmint and How Gubmint Works

Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, "Someone may steal from it at night." So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

Then Congress said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions and one person to do time studies.

Then Congress said, "How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?" So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people, one to do the studies and one to write the reports.

Then Congress said, "How are these people going to get paid?" So they created two positions, a time keeper and a payroll officer, then hired two people.

Then Congress said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?"

So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, an Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then Congress said, "We have had this command in operation for one year, and we are $918,000 over budget. We must cut back." So they laid off the night watchman.

NOW slowly, let that sink in.

Bizarro Earth

Economic Manipulation: Stocks rise amid optimism over oil, economy

Oil eases on talk of a production hike, boosting hopes for the economy

© Mike Keefe/Denver Post
New York - U.S. stocks hit session highs midmorning Tuesday, led by bank and industrial shares, as a tick down in crude prices shifted investor attention to a stronger U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.27 points, or 0.66 percent, to 12,170.30. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 8.15 points, or 0.62 percent, to 1,318.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 16.60 points, or 0.60 percent, to 2,762.23.

Earlier, stocks had seesawed in early trading Tuesday as oil prices pulled back on prospects of an OPEC production hike after recent turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa.

Oil fell $1.22 to $104.22 a barrel after Kuwait's oil minister said that OPEC members are in informal talks about raising oil output. They have yet to make any decisions about changing supplies.

Equities have been closely tied to oil prices recently, as investors worried that consumer spending may be curtailed by higher oil and gas prices, choking off an economic recovery.

Bizarro Earth

Yes, the world still has plenty of oil, but..

© msnbc.com
Let's get this straight: At the moment, the U.S. has plenty of oil.

Let's get another thing straight: The price of oil is likely to keep rising because of market psychology and buyer panic about Mideast turmoil. And there's nothing you can do about it.

To understand why, start with the fact that the price of a barrel of oil or a gallon of gasoline has little or no connection to the cost of producing it.

As of last week, there was some 346 million barrels of oil in American storage, according to the Department of Energy, comfortably above the five-year average range for this time of year. Reserves represent about a 25 day supply for the U.S., a comfortable cushion by historical standards. But, that has done little to keep prices from surging. On Monday, amid news that Libya's civil war posed a new threat to that country's oil exports, the benchmark price of U.S. crude hit $107, the highest level in over a year and a jump of nearly 30 percent in less than a month.

Gasoline prices have also surged in the past month, even though roughly 234 million barrels of it were sloshing through the system as of last week, well above five-year averages. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline hit $3.51 last week, up 13 percent in a month.


US, Allies Edge Closer Toward Formulating Military Options to Halt Violence Against Libya

© AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Canadian PressPresident Barack Obama, right, with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, left, during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday March, 7, 2011, in Washington.
President Barack Obama warned Libya's leaders that the U.S. and its NATO allies are still considering military options in response to what he called "unacceptable" violence perpetrated by supporters of Moammar Gadhafi.

"I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Colonel Gadhafi. It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward. And they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place," Obama said during remarks in the Oval Office Monday.

Libyan warplanes launched multiple airstrikes on opposition fighters in the second day of a government crackdown to thwart rebels advancing on Gadhafi's stronghold in Tripoli.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said a military response was no more likely Monday than it was before the surge in violence. He said the U.S. and its partners are considering a wide variety of military actions, including a no-fly zone, but said deploying ground troops "is not top of the list at this point."

Carney said the U.S. is also considering providing weapons to rebel forces, though he cautioned that there were still many unanswered questions about what groups comprise those forces. He said the U.S. is using diplomatic channels, as well as contacts in the business community and non-governmental organizations, to gather information about the opposition.


North Korea Asking Poor Africa Nations for Food

© Agence France-PresseNorth Korean workers are seen in a field behind a barbed wire fence. The hardline communist state is pleading for food aid even from some of the world's poorest nations such as Zimbabwe, a report has said, amid suspicion the aid may be used to boost the regime's political standing.
North Korea is pleading for food aid even from some of the world's poorest nations such as Zimbabwe, a report has said, amid suspicion the aid may be used to boost the regime's political standing.

JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, citing a Seoul diplomatic source, said the communist North sought food not only from the United States and Europe but also from poor African countries.

"Now they are begging for food even from the world's poorest countries in Africa such as Zimbabwe where annual per-capita income is only around 200 dollars," said the source quoted by JoongAng.

Pyongyang officials stressed to visiting officials a "dire" and "urgent" need for aid, but diplomats based in the North were relatively upbeat about the recent food situation, it said.

"Western countries have started to suspect that the North was begging for food because of internal political campaigns... rather than a genuine need for food," the source was quoted as saying.


America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels

Libya, arms
Saudi Arabia has not yet responded to a request from the US to supply weapons to rebels in Libya

Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi

Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a "day of rage" from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington's highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.

Washington's request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later - to America's chagrin - also funded and armed the Taliban.

No Entry

Things grow worse in Libya and the Internet is switched off

© Arbor Networks
Two weeks ago, as unrest grew in Libya, the Libyan government turned off the Internet, and began to kill off its rebellious citizens. Afterwards, the Internet slowly came back on, but now, according to Arbor Networks, Libya's Internet has been shut down as if a switch has been flipped.

Which, all things considered, might have been exactly what happened. You see Libya's Internet is owned and controlled by the government through a telecommunication company Libya Telecom & Technology. Even its site is down now.

The company's chairman is the dictator's Moammar Gadhafi's eldest son, Muhammad al-Gaddafi. He recently has been appearing as a leader in his father's name.

At the same time, the Internet went down, fighting in what is now the de facto civil war escalated.


Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

39-year-old Vikas Mavhudzi has become Zimbabwe's first "Facebook arrest" after posting a comment on the social network on February 13, 2011 at about 2PM, according to New Zimbabwe. He is being charged with "subverting a constitutional government" for commenting on a Facebook page allegedly belonging to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Here's his message, according to SW Radio Africa:
I am overwhelmed, I don't want to say Mr. or PM what happened in Egypt is sending shockwaves to dictators around the world. No weapon but unity of purpose worth emulating, hey.
The post was referring to the revolt in Egypt which succeeded in toppling dictator Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak on February 11, 2011 after 18 days of protests. Discussing uprisings against dictators in North Africa is now apparently considered a crime in Zimbabwe.


UK: As Royal Wedding Nears, Palace Rushes to Contain Negative Publicity Surrounding Prince Andrew

© The Associated Press / Michel EulerIn this Wednesday Jan. 23, 2008 file photo Britain's Prince Andrew, gestures while speaking during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. As Buckingham Palace prepares to celebrate the wedding of Prince William, officials are rushing to contain a flurry of negative publicity from the side of the family that has long been a cause embarrassment. Prince Andrew, the queen's second son, is friends with a convicted sex offender _ pictures have been published of him with his arm around the waist of the teenage prostitute at the center of that case _ and his hosting of the son of the Tunisian dictator, shortly before a popular uprising drove him from power, has led to calls for him to be stripped of his role as special UK trade ambassador.
As Buckingham Palace prepares to celebrate the wedding of Prince William, officials are rushing to contain a flurry of negative publicity from the side of the family that has long been a source of embarrassment.

Prince Andrew, the queen's second son, is friends with a convicted sex offender. He has also been accused of having close ties to Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya. And his hosting of the son of the Tunisian dictator, shortly before a popular uprising drove him from power, have all led to calls for the Duke of York to be stripped of his role as special U.K. trade ambassador.

British officials have rallied to the royal's defence, with the foreign secretary expressing his "confidence" in Andrew and a U.K. trade official voicing support for the prince to remain in the position, saying Sunday he does a "very valuable job."

But pressure and speculation over how long Andrew will remain in his post are mounting as his activities are generating unwanted scrutiny. Buckingham Palace is in damage limitation mode as it attempts to keep the public's focus on the April 29 wedding between William and Kate Middleton.

In the past, Andrew's name has been synonymous with a dark spot for the royal family. His much-publicized divorce from Sarah Ferguson, her subsequent missteps, tell-all book and videotaped attempt to sell a U.K. tabloid access to Andrew stand in stark contrast to the fairy tale glow surrounding William and Kate Middleton's courtship and upcoming nuptials.