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Human tragedy unfolds as Gaza runs on empty

Abu Mraleel
© The Telegraph, UK
17-year-old Mona Abu Mraleel.
The horrific scars disfigure Mona Abu Mraleel's otherwise strikingly beautiful face. Swathes of bandages cover the injuries the 17-year-old sustained to her arms and legs in a blaze from which she narrowly escaped with her life.

Still racked by pain from burns to 40 per cent of her body, she goes to hospital on a daily basis to have her dressings changed. Specialist doctors are preparing to carry out a delicate skin graft operation in the coming days.

Yet the hospital on which her recovery depends is woefully ill-fitted to the task - riddled by equipment failures, power cuts and shortages in a mounting crisis that doctors fear is leading to a "health catastrophe".

Mona lives in Gaza, the impoverished Palestinian coastal enclave where chronic fuel shortages have led to electricity cuts of up to 18 hours a day and reduced ordinary life and public services to a standstill.

She is just one of many Gazans suffering under a mounting crisis that this week prompted the British Foreign Office minister, Hugh Robertson, to demand urgent action to restore an adequate fuel supply to the territory.

Gaza's long-running shortages - which had already inflicted long-term eight-hour daily blackouts on residents - worsened dramatically at the beginning of this month when the territory's main power station closed, following a row over prices between the two biggest Palestinian factions.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs Gaza, said it could no longer afford to buy fuel after the Fatah-dominated and Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank, withdrew the tax exemptions it once provided.

Question

Author claims to have solved Jack the Ripper mystery

Bestselling writer Patricia Cornwell claims she has uncovered new evidence to suggest Jack the Ripper was a well known 20th century painter
The London Post
© ALAMY
The London Post, November 9th 1888.
Crime writer Patricia Cornwell claims to have unearthed evidence suggesting London's most famous serial killer Jack the Ripper was a well known artist.

The American author plans to publish 11 years worth of research which points to Walter Sickert as the prime suspect behind the murders in Whitechapel, East London, in 1888.

She claims to have matched watermarks on letters the mystery killer allegedly sent to police with those on paper used by the painter and printmaker, who died in 1942.

Cornwell also believes she has found clues linking Sickert to the royal family, adding weight to the much debated "royal conspiracy" theory put forward by a number of Ripper investigators.

Fireball

Survivalists deem TN Plateau prime prepper property


If you're searching for somewhere to make it through any number of doomsday scenarios, some prominent members of the survivalist "prepper" movement say look no further than right here in East Tennessee.

That sentiment has preppers flocking to Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau for property. Country Places realty says it has received so many calls from preppers, the company is now specifically marketing much of its Plateau property to those who are preparing for the worst.

"It's very noticeable how many calls we get and how many people we're showing land on a daily basis," said Don Busby, general manager of Country Places. "A few years ago, at that time I never heard of a 'prepper' or the 'doomsday movement.' But over the last year there is a much greater intensity. I get the calls daily from people all over the United States who are looking for land. Usually, a minute or two into the call it is pretty obvious that they have a prepper mentality. They've got to have a place that is safe where they can grow food, raise animals, and have things stockpiled."

As for what the preppers are afraid of, Busby says the concerns span a wide variety of apocalyptic topics.

Bizarro Earth

'Walking Dead' zombie actress takes plea deal in Obama ricin plot

Image
© Curt Youngblood / Texarkana Gazette / June 7, 2013
In this June 7 photo, Shannon Guess Richardson is placed into a Titus County Sheriff's Department car after an initial appearance at the federal building Texarkana, Texas.
A Texas actress who played a zombie on the TV show "The Walking Dead" has struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors after being accused of trying to frame her husband for sending poison letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Prosecutors filed notice in federal court in east Texas Thursday that Shannon Guess Richardson, 35, had accepted a deal.

In addition to a small part in "The Walking Dead," Richardson had minor roles in "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Blind Side," according to her profile in the movie database IMDb.

The investigation began in May after Obama, Bloomberg and Mark Glaze -- director of the Bloomberg-backed Mayors Against Illegal Guns group -- received letters containing the poison known as ricin, accompanied by a typed threat:

"You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns," read the notes sent to Bloomberg and Glaze. "Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God given right and I will excersice [sic] that right til the day I die."

Gold Coins

Hard drive containing £4 million in bitcoins trashed

Meet the devastated owner of a bitcoins hard drive worth £4m that was accidentally thrown away in Wales


James Howells is kicking himself after throwing away a computer hard drive worth millions of pounds.

The IT technician made the costly blunder of accidentally getting rid of the drive which contained 7,500 bitcoins.

It had been gathering dust in a drawer for years after generating the digital currency in 2009. Since then, bitcoins have skyrocketed in value, and the hard drive was worth £4m.

The drive is now somewhere in a landfill site in Newport, Wales getting buried ever deeper under other rubbish.

James said he was devastated when he realised what he had done: "I was in front of my computer, the drawer where the drive was kept was only a few yards away and the first thing I did was move to that drawer, and look, even though I knew it wasn't there, it was still the first thing I did."

"From the very first time I came across bitcoin I knew it was going to be a good investment and I knew it was going to be the next big thing. I mean, devastating really. What else can I say?" he added.

Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day, every day. The supply of the currency, which is "mined" by solving math problems, is limited, and recently stood at 12 million bitcoins, worth about £8 billion at recent prices.

Sherlock

Russell Brand: The Sun on Sunday lied about me, but more importantly, lies about everything

Rupert Murdoch holds up the Sun on Sunday
© Arthur Edwards/AFP/Getty
Rupert Murdoch with the first issue of the Sun on Sunday.
Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but it's still the same fecund bone-yard of gossip, poison and lies. Have they learned nothing?

The Sun on Sunday, which is of course the News of the World with a different hat on, lied about me last week.

In the general scheme of things, the crumbling economy, the savaged environment, the treacherous, inept, deceitful politicians that govern us, the corrupt corporations that exploit us, it might not seem like a big deal. That's because it isn't to anyone, except me or my girlfriend. The pain, disruption and distress, that the Sun inflicted by falsely claiming that I cheated on my girlfriend, in the context of such awesome corruption, is a pale liver-spot on the back of Murdoch's glabrous claw. Still though, it's a tiny part of the demon's dermatology and as such, connected to all the other pestilence. Here's how.

Handcuffs

Israel Charged with war crimes and genocide. Complete judgment of Kuala Lumpur Tribunal published

Amos Yaron

"The Defendant Amos Yaron perpetrated War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Genocide in his capacity as the Commanding Israeli General in military control of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps [...]"
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC) versus the State of Israel

The proceedings directed against the State of Israel were led by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.

Members of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC) are:

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (Chairman), Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Dr. Denis Halliday, Mr. Musa Ismail, Dr. Zulaiha Ismail, Dr. Yaacob Merican, Dr. Hans von Sponeck.

Working in liaison with their Malaysian counterparts, commissioners Dr. Denis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization were present in Kuala Lumpur throughout the proceedings.

This important judicial process has received very little coverage in the Western media. Global Research will be publishing several reports following this historic judgment against the State of Israel.
"The perpetrators had committed acts against the Palestinians, with intent to kill, cause serious bodily or mental harms and deliberately inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of the Palestinians as a whole or in part."
"The Tribunal recommends to the War Crimes Commission to give the widest international publicity to this conviction and grant of reparations, as these are universal crimes for which there is a responsibility upon nations to institute prosecutions.

The Tribunal deplores the failure of international institutions to punish the State of Israel for its crimes and its total lack of respect of International Law and the institutions of the United Nations."

Smoking

Global fascism: Smoking in public places banned in Perth, Australia

Image
© Mayank Ganger/flickr
City of Perth will become the first council in Western Australia to ban smoking in major pedestrian areas when its malls go smoke-free from Sunday. Changes to the local law mean it will be an offence to smoke in Perth's Hay Street Mall, Murray Street Mall and Forrest Place.

Offenders in the first six months of the awareness campaign will be cautioned, and fines will be issued from 1 June next year.

Healthway's chair, Rosanna Capolingua, said on Thursday nine in 10 people in WA were non-smokers and it was important to show young people that being a non-smoker was a community standard.

"We're talking about hundreds of thousands of city workers and visitors per week who will no longer be exposed to harmful secondhand smoke in these areas," she said. "Smokers too will benefit from this move, and most agree it's a good idea because they want encouragement to quit.

Ambulance

Hundreds of cannabis workers fall ill in Albanian village


Doctors in Albania say hundreds of people have fallen ill from harvesting cannabis in a lawless region that for years has been out of bounds to police, Albanian media reported on Friday.

The hospital in the southern city of Gjirokaster said a total of 700 have sought treatment since June for the effects of planting, harvesting, pressing and packing the cannabis in the village of Lazarat.

"In the last two months about seven to eight people arrive in the emergency ward each day and many more have come earlier with disorders from hashish," Gjirokaster doctor Hysni Lluka told Top Channel television.

Some 2,000 people, including poor Roma who have set up a camp near Lazarat, have been working for months in the cannabis fields, where producers pay eight euros per 10 kilos of processed drug.

People

Inglewood gunman surrenders to police; hostages safe

Image
© AP Photo/Nick Ut
Inglewood police snipers take up a position outside a residence, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, in Inglewood, Calif., where a police officer was shot and another received minor injuries in a confrontation with a gunman who barricaded himself inside a home and could be holding a hostage, authorities said.
A gunman fired several shots at a pair of police officers, hitting one, and held two hostages for nearly nine hours - but all came away from the standoff without serious injuries.

The worst injury Wednesday occurred when an Inglewood policeman was shot in his bulletproof vest. He was taken to a hospital in good condition but "in a lot of pain, police Capt. James D. Madia said. He suffered blunt force injuries and was set to spend the night in another hospital as a precaution, police said.

The second officer in was not hit but was hurt when she fell down in the chaos that followed, Madia said. She was treated at a hospital and released.

The 45-year-old gunman and the girlfriend and her 14-year-old daughter that he held hostage in their house all came away unharmed, police said.