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Thu, 09 Jul 2020
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Sudan Declares State of Emergency as Clashes Continue

© Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
A woman in South Kordofan. Fleeing air attacks from Sudanese forces, thousands have left their homes for makeshift shelters in the Nuba Mountains.
Khartoum, Sudan - Sudan declared a state of emergency on Sunday along much of its border with South Sudan as the momentum toward all-out war continues to build after weeks of clashes over disputed areas and oil.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's decree gives authorities in the border areas wide powers to make arrests and set up special courts. It was issued a day after Sudan detained three foreigners and a South Sudanese near the border and accused them of spying for South Sudan, a charge the South denies.

South Sudan, meanwhile, said Sunday that it would remove its security forces from the contested region of Abyei in response to demands from the African Union and the United Nations Security Council. "We are not occupying any contested area," said South Sudan's minister of information, Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

But reports of fighting continued through the weekend. On Saturday, Sudanese aircraft bombed Panakuach, a town near the border in Unity State, Mr. Benjamin said. And on Sunday, South Sudan's army said clashes with what it called a militia group backed by Sudan left 21 people dead in Malakal, near the border. Mr. Benjamin called the militia a "mixture" of Sudanese forces and southern militiamen.


Nigeria: As Gunmen Fire On Worshippers...Two Profs, 17 Others Killed in Buk Attack

© unknown
Bayero University
Kano - Two professors and at least 17 other people were killed yesterday when gunmen struck a lecture theatre and a sport complex used by Christian worshippers at the Bayero University, Kano.

Witnesses said the attackers arrived on motorbikes and a Honda car at about 9am, and hurled small homemade explosives into the two centres before opening fire on fleeing worshippers.

Professor Andrew Leo Ogbonyomi of the university's Library Science Department and a Chemistry Professor were among those reported dead.

A number of other lecturers as well as some students were believed to have also been killed in the incident. It happened at a time when the university was on vacation.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which was the deadliest yet in Kano since the major Boko Haram assault on the city on January 20 that left 186 people dead.

Witnesses told Daily Trust that the attackers came through the university's main gate and escaped on motorbikes through a smaller gate.


Australian Billionaire Clive Palmer to Build Titanic II

Clive Palmer
© Agence France-Presse
Mr Palmer says the Titanic replica will be a tribute to the men and women who built the original ship
Clive Palmer, one of Australia's richest men, has commissioned a Chinese state-owned company to build a 21st Century version of the Titanic.

The mining billionaire told Australian media that construction will start at the end of next year.

It would be ready to set sail in 2016.

The plan, he added, is for the vessel to be as similar as possible to the original Titanic in design and specifications, but with modern technology.

Mr Palmer told Australian media that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling Shipyard to construct the ship.

"It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st Century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," he said in a statement.

The announcement comes just weeks after the centenary of the sinking of the ill-fated Titanic.


'Real life Barbie' Stirs Debate Over Cosmetic Surgery

Valeria Lukyanova
© Valeria Lukyanova/Tumblr
Do Barbie dolls create unrealistic expectations for young women?
A recent article about 21-year-old Ukrainian model Valeria Lukyanova has caused an uproar across the Internet, as people debate whether or not the "real life Barbie" achieved her appearance through cosmetic surgery. It has also stoked a larger debate over whether or not excessive pressure is placed on young women by the media and popular culture to fit within a certain cosmetic mold.

Lukyanova's Tumblr account features some pictures of the model without cosmetics, but in most of the photos she appears to be wearing a lot of makeup. In addition, several readers are questioning whether the photos have been altered, and there's speculation as to whether Lukyanova underwent extensive plastic surgery at such a young age to get her look.

So, are young women really altering their bodies in an attempt to look like Barbie?

Writing for Discovery News, Benjamin Radford says "little research" has actually been done on whether girls actually look up to Barbie as a physical ideal. Radford cites an article from the journal Adolescence, in which authors Tara Kuther and Erin McDonald write that, "the extant literature about Barbie dolls tends to be opinionated and based on essays and popular media articles" rather than actual scientific research and analysis.


Teen Justice Trolls vigilantes' Videos May Have Helped Nab Real Child Predator in British Columbia

Canada - So the Justice Trolls may have got their man after all.

RCMP in Chilliwack, B.C., about 90 minutes' drive east of Vancouver, have confirmed their investigation into a case of attempted child luring is linked to video taken by a group of costumed vigilantes who tricked a suspected pedophile into meeting them last year, the Vancouver Province reports.

The teenage crime fighters calling themselves the Justice Trolls hung up their colourful duds and took down videos of their encounters on the advice of police.

But on Tuesday, RCMP released a photo of a man allegedly using a computer to try and lure a young girl. Five hours later, the Mounties said they'd identified the man through tips from the public.

"A very short time after the release was sent, several tips were received from the public and the police were able to make an identification and can now take the necessary steps in furthering their investigation," RCMP said in a news release.


Police Brutality: Windsor Police Caught on Tape Beating Legally Blind Doctor

Canada - CBC News has obtained video that shows a Windsor, Ont., police officer beating a doctor who is legally blind.

Det. David Van Buskirk, who attacked Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan on April 22, 2010, pleaded guilty Thursday to assault causing bodily harm.

Video cameras at the Jackson Park Health Centre captured the beating, although much of the physical altercation is slightly out of frame. Afterwards, Van Buskirk wrote in his report that the doctor ""immediately reached out and grabbed my throat and pushed me backward."

In pleading guilty, Van Buskirk admitted that Abouhassan "did not strike him at all." He also confirmed that all of the doctor's reaction "was in lawful resistance to being assaulted by the accused."


London 2012: Missiles may be placed at residential flats

water tower missile site
© Unknown
The water tower also contains residential flats
The Ministry of Defense is considering placing surface-to-air missiles on residential flats during the Olympics.

An east London estate, where 700 people live, has received leaflets saying a "Higher Velocity Missile system" could be placed on a water tower.

A spokesman said the MoD had not yet decided whether to deploy ground based air defense systems during the event.

But estate resident Brian Whelan said firing the missiles "would shower debris across the east end of London".

The journalist said: "At first I thought it was a hoax. I can't see what purpose high-velocity missiles could serve over a crowded area like Tower Hamlets.


Occupy the regulatory system!

occupy regulatory system
© Andrew Rae for the Washington Post
Occupy Wall Street has moved. Its new address: 60 Wall Street.

There, inside a soaring public atrium, dreadlocked teens trade shoulder massages near the evening meditation circle. A young man holds up a sign: "You're a Federal Reserve $lave." The dinnertime crowd buzzes over free plates of rice and beans while listening to an improvised, profanity-laden operetta about the evils of agro-giant Monsanto. But amid the din, there's a small group holding a quieter, and far wonkier, conversation.

"What are the restrictions? Does it let anyone call themselves a clearing agency? It seems like there's a rigorous definition, but maybe there's not," Caitlin Kline says. "What if all you're taking on is counterparty risk for all of these banks, but you don't ever take any other exposure? It seems to be covered by several exemptions."

Kline, a former Wall Street trader-turned-Occupier, is a member of Occupy the SEC, an offshoot of the large movement that has burrowed deep into the regulatory process. At this moment, she's trying to figure out if the drafting of the Volcker Rule - a provision of President Obama's Wall Street overhaul that would restrict commercial banks from making speculative investments that do not benefit their customers - is tight enough to keep banks in check.


South African Gold Miners Sue Over Lung Disease

South African Miner
© Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images
Former South African miner Vuyisile Gibson stands on November 8, 2011 in his mud hut near the town of Tsolo in the Eastern Cape province. He is undergoing tests to see whether his poor health is due to decades of breathing dust while working in Anglo American gold mines. Silicosis is caused by inhaling gold mining dust and can rest dormant for years before permanently scarring the lungs.
Johannesburg - Long after they left the gold mines, death stalks tens of thousands of South Africa's former miners.

They fight for breath, their chests tight and bodies weak: Years of inhaling dust caused many ex-miners to contract silicosis, an incurable lung disease that often leads to tuberculosis and can be fatal.

High-profile lawsuits are bringing new attention to silicosis, described by medical expert Tony Davies as a "river of disease flowing out of the South African gold mines." But some of the former miners fear that any justice may come too late - as court cases drag on, men are dying.

More than a thousand former workers of Anglo American, one of the world's biggest mining companies, have launched proceedings in the London High Court, seeking compensation for silicosis.

Silicosis is an occupational disease, and a hazard of gold mining, caused by excessive exposure to silica dust. The miners say they were not given protective masks and the mines lacked proper ventilation, even though it was known that the dust could be harmful.

In a separate case, a South African lawyer said he has signed up more than 6,000 plaintiffs from South Africa and Lesotho, and is preparing to file a class-action suit in a Johannesburg court.

A third case, launched by 18 former miners from South Africa's Free State against a local Anglo American subsidiary, is continuing. Four of the men have died since the suit was filed in 2004. There is still no verdict.


Palestinian Village Ordered to Uproot 1,400 Olive Trees by May 1

Villagers relaxing in Deir Istiya, 2009.
© Genevieve Long
Villagers relaxing in Deir Istiya, 2009.
Earlier this week, Israel ordered Palestinian farmers in Deir Istiya, a major West Bank olive producing village, to uproot 1,400 trees by the end of this month. By comparison, this order is 400 more trees than the total number uprooted in all of 2011.

"This is the largest order for uprooting trees that the farmers of Wadi Qana have ever been given," said the International Women's Peace Service (IWPS). And Amal Salem, 63, from Deir Istiya, but now living in St. Louis says unearthing olive trees effects everyone in the village, "When I visited last year, every house I went to has had uprooted trees."

Amal's family has farmed olive for five generations. It was their livelihood, and afforded her to attend school in Cairo. "I went to school because of the olive trees. I went to school because in Cairo because of the trees. My father had no other income but the olive trees." In Amal's family, Israeli authorities uprooted 300 trees of her 83-year old uncle's land. Amal described them as ancient growth, "1,000 years old," stemming from the Roman period. The day the bulldozers arrived, her cousins protested, clinging to the trees, although they were uprooted regardless. But within a day or two, her family proudly re-planted what was unearthed. Yet Amal's uncle has night terrors from this incident, stirring over the sight of seeing his child nearly smashed by a bulldozer.