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Greek public-sector workers occupy 6 ministries and lock out IMF and ECB inspectors

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© John Kolesidis/Reuters
Government employees blocking the entrance to the interior ministry in Athens.
Surprise sit-ins start with civil servants declaring that they had taken over six ministries early this morning

International experts with the task of compiling a crucial review of Greece's fiscal progress ran into trouble before they could even start the job as public-sector workers protesting against wage cuts, layoffs and higher taxes locked them out of office buildings.

Inspectors from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank were greeted on Thursday with banners deploring the "barbaric measures" the so-called "troika" has meted out in exchange for propping up the moribund Greek economy. At the finance ministry - the hub of talks between the debt-stricken country and creditors - protesters shouted "take your bailout and leave" and prevented auditors from entering the building.

"We are sending a loud message to the government and the European Union that we have reached our limits, that it is the workers in our country and especially workers in the public domain who have carried the burden [of cost-cutting policies]," said Costas Tsikrikas, president of Adedy, the union of civil servants.

Better Earth

Brazilian judge orders construction of Amazon dam to stop

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© Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images
'We don't want Belo Monte,' reads a sign at an anti-dam rally in front of Brazil's parliament. A judge has ordered building of the dam to stop.
Belo Monte hydroelectric dam project halted after ruling that it risked damaging fish stocks on Xingu river

A Brazilian judge has ordered construction to be suspended on a controversial hydroelectric dam in the Amazon.

In his ruling, Judge Carlos Castro Martins said that all working on the Belo Monte dam that interfered with the natural course of the Xingu river should be halted because of the risk that fish stocks would be damaged.

The £7bn dam would reputedly be the third largest in the world, after China's Three Gorges and the Itaipu project on the Brazil-Paraguay border.

The injunction is the latest development in a decades-long battle against the Belo Monte dam, plans for which were conceived in the mid-1970s but subsequently shelved after protests.

Light Saber

US: Judge rules part of Patriot Act unconstitutional

Brandon Mayfield, Steven Wax
© Don Ryan / AP file
Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield, left, and public defender Steven Wax in Portland, Ore., react to the May 24, 2004, dismissal of the case against Mayfield who had been detained in connection with the Madrid train bombings investigation.

Provisions allow search warrants issued without probable cause, she says

Portland, Oregon - Two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without a showing of probable cause, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, "now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment."

Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield sought the ruling in a lawsuit against the federal government after he was mistakenly linked by the FBI to the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people in 2004.

Eye 1

US: Ron Paul, ACLU condemn Anwar al-Awlaki killing

Anwar al-Awlaki
© CBS
Anwar al-Awlaki

White House hopeful Ron Paul and the American Civil Liberties Union each condemned the United States' killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who has never been charged with any crime.

Paul, a staunch Libertarian, said in New Hampshire Friday that it's "sad" if "the American people accept this blindly and casually," adding that "nobody knows if he ever killed anybody," According to the Wall Street Journal. the Texas Republican lawmaker said United States officials "have never been specific about the crime."

The ACLU said the killing was a violation of both U.S. and international law.

"As we've seen today, this is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts," said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the ACLU. "The government's authority to use lethal force against its own citizens should be limited to circumstances in which the threat to life is concrete, specific and imminent. It is a mistake to invest the president - any president - with the unreviewable power to kill any American whom he deems to present a threat to the country."

People

US: The little boy who started a sex change aged eight because he knew he always wanted to be a girl

The lesbian parents of an 11-year-old boy who is undergoing the process of becoming a girl last night defended the decision, claiming it was better for a child to have a sex change when young.

Thomas Lobel, who now calls himself Tammy, is undergoing controversial hormone blocking treatment in Berkeley, California to stop him going through puberty as a boy.

But Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel warn that children with gender identity disorder forced to postpone transitioning could face a higher risk of suicide.
transgender,boy

Therapy: Thomas Lobel, who now calls himself Tammy, is undergoing controversial hormone blocking treatment


Newspaper

Spain: Pregnant woman at church service shot dead by 'mentally ill' gunman leaving paramedics to deliver baby boy AFTER she had died

murder in madrid
© Associated Press/Paul White
Horrifying: A covered body is brought out of St Mary's Church, Madrid after a gunman walked in during a service and killed a pregnant woman before turning the gun on himself
A gunman shot dead a pregnant woman in church before kneeling at the altar and turning the weapon on himself.

Doctors are waiting to see if the woman's baby, delivered by paramedics on the church floor after she was killed, has suffered brain damage. Rocio Pineira, 36, had been days away from giving birth.

The boy was saved in an emergency cesarean section but had to be resuscitated during the procedure on Thursday evening at the Santa Maria del Pinar Church in Madrid.

The boy, named Alvaro, is in the neonatal intensive care unit at La Paz Hospital in the Spanish capital. Doctors said it will be several days before they can fully comment on the infant's condition but it was described as 'serious'.

The husband of Mrs Pineira is receiving treatment for shock.

Che Guevara

Labor Unions and Leftist Groups Prepare to Join Occupy Wall Street As Protesters Settle In

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The young people that have so far made up most of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations will soon be shown some support by the city's more practiced warriors against the status quo, with the city's "established left" set to join the mini-movement next week, Crain's New York reports. "It's a responsibility for the progressive organizations in town to show their support and connect Occupy Wall Street to some of the struggles that are real in the city today," explained the executive director of New York Communities for Change, a group that has organized a march on Wednesday from City Hall to the Occupy Wall Street headquarters at Zuccotti Park. Although the park's private owners were looking for a way to close their property to the demonstrators, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said last night that they'd have to keep it open. And the protesters don't seem to be going anywhere on their own.

Che Guevara

Thinking About Revolution

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© N/A
Once again the time has come for revolution in America.
"What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 - 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington." - John Adams, Letter to Thomas Jefferson, August 24, 1815
What follows is a brief synopsis of "Thinking about Revolution," which can be found in its entirety at http://newdemocracyworld.org/revolution/Thinking.pdf

Once again the time has come for revolution in America. Instead of a British king we have a ruling class of bankers and billionaires who control the government and all the important institutions of society. The future holds misery for the many and privilege for the few.

Magnify

MIVILUDicrous! Mass suicide fears as French cult predicts end of world in Dec 2012

The French Government has alerted the country to the risk of mass suicides by people who believe that the world would end by December 21, 2012.

A government watchdog, which monitors cults and suspicious spiritual activities, is keeping an eye on the hamlet of Bugarach in the south of France, which is said to be the only place in the world that will survive an Apocalypse next year.

The remote hilltop villages have had an influx of New Age visitors in recent months.


Comment: We, here at SOTT, do not think that the "End of the World" is coming - and certainly not in 2012 (remember all the hoopla about the year 2000?), though we do regularly assess the scientific evidence that the Earth is in for a rough ride for a few years. We further do not assess the signs as indicating any special dispensation falling on Bugarach - or anywhere, for that matter. What is coming is global climate change for sure, and possibly localized cometary bombardment. No one is going to escape the former and the latter is a crapshoot - a matter of luck.

We naturally abhor the frenzied speculations based mostly on ignorance and pathology that have taken the field in such venues as "Project Camelot" and elsewhere, including ridiculous ideas such as Richard Hoaxland's about Comet Elenin. It is just that sort of wild rumor-mongering and craziness that led to the deaths of many gullible people belonging to the Heaven's Gate group back during the Hale-Bopp fiasco. So, certainly, there is some concern about this sort of thing, and rightly so.

However, for a government to step in as the French government has, and to authorize a group of people belonging to a real cult, (Miviludes) to decide who is or is not a cult, is taking the thing a bit too far. It amounts to establishing a Theocracy where one religion has the right to declare all other beliefs heretical. More than that, it is a government that has abdicated its responsibility in terms of making the facts - the Scientific Truths - available.

That is the gap that we, here at SOTT.NET, try to fill.


Light Saber

Australia: CultBusters: Who you gonna call?

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© The Advertiser / Kym Smith
Nick Xenophon in pensive mood at Parliament House in Canberra
It's all too easy in Australia set up a religion, get tax-free status, a bunch of followers willing to donate, and you're set.

Maybe predict the end of the world to get things moving along with a sense of urgency.

Senator Nick Xenophon suggests that Australia needs a "cult-busting agency", similar to those already operating overseas.

Mr Xenophon - who has previously tackled Scientology and questioned its tax-exempt status - says he wants a dedicated government agency to "monitor and control the activities of cults in Australia". The issue's come to the fore again with the arrest in Fiji of Rocco "Brother Rock" Leo for breaching his visa. Leo is the leader of the Agape Ministries of God group. Agape has previously run into trouble over fraud, illegal weapons, assaults and tax debts.

Comment: From Call for agency watch on cults:
Mr Xenophon said the "cult watchdog" would be based on French agency MIVILUDES, which was established a decade ago.
"MIVILUDES has received bipartisan support, and has provided assistance and support to those affected by cults," Mr Xenophon said. "There is evidence that cult-like behaviour in France has been significantly curtailed by the existence of such a watchdog."
Fortunately, according to the article, "The Government has expressed doubts over its constitutional powers to introduce a watchdog body."