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Light Saber

Spain expresses support for independent Palestinian state

united nations
© Reuters
The United Nations Security Council meets at the UN Headquarters in New York, July 13, 2011

Foreign Minister says he hopes an upcoming summit of European Union foreign ministers will 'give Palestinians hope that a state could become reality.'

Spain hopes a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Sept. 2 will bring progress toward the recognition of a Palestinian state, Minister of Foreign Affairs Trinidad Jimenez said.

"There's the feeling that now is the time to do something, to give the Palestinians the hope that a state could become reality," she said in an interview with El Pais newspaper published on Sunday.

Star of David

What Congress Won't See on Its Trip to Israel This Month

israel wall
© Unknown
Congressman Russ Carnahan joined nearly 20 percent of the United States House of Representatives in a trip to Israel this month. Paid for by an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, these 81 representatives are supposed to represent our interests but are choosing to spend their recess in Israel -- and briefly in the occupied West Bank -- at a time when Americans are suffering and scared from high unemployment, a tanking stock market and a downgrade of our national bond rating.

I also recently traveled to the Holy Land, although I paid my own way. I was part of the "Welcome to Palestine" delegation. I was lucky. Most of my colleagues on the delegation were not allowed to join me. On July 8 over 120 people from Europe, North America and Australia were detained at Israel's Ben Gurion airport. They were then imprisoned by the State of Israel, most for over a week. Their only crime was that when Israeli custom officials asked what they were doing in Israel, they responded that they were planning to visit Palestinian friends in the Aida Refugee camp in Bethlehem. Three hundred other delegates who planned to visit Bethlehem and other places in the occupied West Bank were forced off their flights in Europe due to Israeli pressure.

During my time in the Holy Land, I had an opportunity to meet and talk with many Palestinians and Israelis. I learned about a system in Israel that discriminates against Palestinians on the basis of their ethnicity. In the West Bank, things are far worse. I observed an explicit system of racial segregation and ethnic cleansing, where Palestinians are separated from their own lands and water by walls, barbed-wire fences and machine-gun-wielding soldiers and Jewish settlers.

Family

US: Social Security Disability on Verge of Insolvency

michael astrue
© AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue responds to questions at a hearing in Akron, Ohio.
Washington - Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency.

Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can't find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.

The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants - many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved - and worsening the financial problems of a program that's been running in the red for years.

New congressional estimates say the trust fund that supports Social Security disability will run out of money by 2017, leaving the program unable to pay full benefits, unless Congress acts. About two decades later, Social Security's much larger retirement fund is projected to run dry as well.

Arrow Down

Jet Crashes in Canadian Arctic, 12 Killed

Twelve people were killed when a First Air jet crashed near Resolute Bay in the far north of the Canadian Arctic, but three people survived, the airline said on Saturday.

First Air, which flies to some of Canada's most remote communities, said the chartered Boeing 737-200 had been traveling from Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories. It had 15 people aboard and it crashed just over a mile from the airport in Resolute Bay.

Resolute Bay, whose Inuit name, Quaasuittuq, means "place with no dawn," is one of Canada's most northerly communities, with sunless winter days and 24-hour sunlight in summer.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to visit the community next week as part of an annual tour of the Arctic region.

Transport Canada said members of the Canadian military, in the region for a military training exercise, were supporting emergency services there.

Sherlock

Psychopaths - A Solution?

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Throughout human history, individuals who are 'not quite conspecific' with the majority of normal human beings have wreaked havoc at local, national and global levels of human society, depending on the extent of their 'ambition'. Look around you today and you will see clear evidence of a deviant psychological worldview - a veritable Bizarro World - that originated within the clinically psychopathic mind. This worldview has psychologically 'infected' millions - even billions - of otherwise normal human beings and now pervades almost all areas of human life. From family and interpersonal relationship values, to science and religion, to economics, medicine, the food we eat, to the very idea of what constitutes 'civilized society'; all are underpinned by the pathologically destructive ideology and 'morality' of the psychopathic mind.

As regular Sott.net readers will know, much of our work over the past 10 years has been dedicated to exposing this decidedly dangerous and depressing state of affairs which we consider to be the root of all other problems facing humanity. However, for the most part, we have always stopped short of offering any solutions, mainly because any possible solution to this problem would first require a critical mass of awareness about the problem itself. And we're still a long way from that critical mass. But time is running short, and perhaps it is time to depart, if only momentarily, from our usual approach and consider any possible solutions to this over-arching dilemma. Indeed, we may very well have to face this issue at some point in our collective future.

The following is 'solution' to the problem of psychopaths among us, proffered by a Sott.net reader. Admittedly, the solution is shocking and, to the normal human mind, morally reprehensible. Certainly, in a world without psychopaths, normal human values would work. But psychopaths use the best things about human beings against them, including the idea that human life is somehow more valuable than other forms of life on our planet. We've all been brought up with the idea that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of god", and the corollary, that all human-looking beings have souls that can be redeemed. What if that is not true? What if that has been programmed into us for the very purpose of protecting psychopaths from the reckoning of the majority of normal human beings?

We present the following short story purely in the spirit to which we, as an organisation, have always adhered: the facilitation of open discussion on life's most pressing and complex issues... and this is the big one.

Comment: Read our forum discussion of The Odyssey for a message in a bottle from our ancestors about how they dealt with the issue of psychopathy, with the help and encouragement of Athena.


Question

Strauss-Kahn accuser mulls dropping case for money

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Lawyers for the woman who accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault have explored a deal in which they would scuttle the criminal case in exchange for a monetary settlement in the civil lawsuit, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The woman's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, strongly denied the report, which the Journal sourced to unidentified people briefed on the matter.

The report comes ahead of Tuesday's scheduled court hearing in which Strauss-Kahn, once seen as a leading contender to be the next president of France, was due to appear before a judge for the first time since he was freed from house arrest on July 1.

Stormtrooper

US arrests dozens of green activists

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Environmental activists protesting the Keystone XL pipeline project in front of the White House, August 20 , 2011
The US police have arrested dozens of environmental activists who staged a sit-in in front of the White House to protest a plan to build a pipeline which is believed to cause serious environmental damages in America.

Around 2,200 people from all over the US are expected to take part in the two-week event which began on Saturday, AFP reported.

The protest is designed to pressure US President Barack Obama to deny permit for the USD 13 billion Keystone XL pipeline project, which is planned to stretch 1,700 miles from Canada to the US Gulf Coast.

Environmental experts say the project requires energy that produces a large volume of greenhouse gasses.

"President Obama can stop this climate-killing disaster with the stroke of a pen," said Bill McKibben, spokesman for Tar Sands Action, the environmental group that organized the protest.

Stormtrooper

German police clash with protesters

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Police fire water cannons at a street festival in Hamburg, Germany.
German demonstrators have clashed with police officers and damaged public property after an all-night street festival in the city of Hamburg.

On Saturday, police had detained approximately 30 protesters who caused property damage and fought with law enforcement, AFP reported.

Police fired water cannons to subdue left-wing demonstrators who were pelting officers with stones, bottles and firecrackers, as well as setting ablaze barricades.

Rioters had also caused property damage by attacking a bank, setting fire to cars and burning garbage containers.

Patrons had attended the annual Schanzenfest street festival which attracts large crowds with its music and food stalls, and often ends in clashes between protesters and police.

About 2,500 police officials had prepared beforehand and participated in this year's melee.

Stormtrooper

Fascism USA - Criminal Citation For Hauling Scrap Metal

Tyranny in America. Today it happened to me. Please I need your help spreading the video I took today. My name is David Stowell. For a living I provide a free junk removal service for people in the Seattle area. This is how I make my living. it is a hard and dirty job, but atleast it's a job. Today as I was taking my first load of scrap for the week in to seattle Iron and Metal to sell I was waved to pull over by Trooper Hooper with the wa state patroll. His actions of tyranny will probably put me out of business and land me in jail. Please watch and share the videos. There are 7 of them because I don't know how to turn them into one. In the video my hands were shaking because my blood sugar had dropped and because of the anxiety that I was feeling.


Hourglass

Hugo Chavez Nationalizes Venezuelan Gold Industry, Demands 211 Tons Be Returned From Abroad

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This is the biggest story of the late day with implications for Jamie Dimon, precious metal ETFs, and central banks worldwide. We'll start at the beginning.

Anyone holding gold miner Rusoro is panicking.

Details from Reuters
Toronto-listed Rusoro, owned by Russia's Agapov family, is the only large gold miner operating in Venezuela. It produced 100,000 ounces last year.

The gold industry will be just the latest part of the economy to be put under state control by the socialist leader, who said he would issue the necessary decree in the coming days and called on the military to help control the sector.

"I have here the laws allowing the state to exploit gold and all related activities ... we are going to nationalize the gold and we are going to convert it, among other things, into international reserves because gold continues to increase in value," Chavez said in a phone call to state television.