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Ex-Israeli president gets 7 years in rape case

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© Ariel Schalit/AP
Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, center, arrives at a court in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Katsav is the highest-ranking Israeli official ever convicted of a crime.
Tel Aviv, Israel - An Israeli court ordered former Israeli President Moshe Katsav to prison for seven years Tuesday following his rape conviction, rejecting his attorneys' request for leniency and making him the highest-ranking Israel official ever sent to jail.

The silver-haired Katsav broke down in tears and screamed at the judges: "You made a mistake! It is a lie! The girls know it is a lie!"

In December, the Tel Aviv Disctrict Court found Katsav, 65, guilty of raping a former employee and sexually harassing two other women who used to work for him. He also was convicted of indecent acts and obstruction of justice.

In sentencing the disgraced politician, the court said Katsav's record of public service would not be weighed in his favor, accusing him instead of exploiting his position to become a sexual offender.

The former president, who resigned under public pressure two weeks before his term was to end in 2007, went to trial after rejecting a plea bargain that would have kept him out of jail.

Comment: 7 years at a country club resort doesn't seem like Justice for such a predator. Perhaps he will be in a general population prison with the thousands of Palestinians who've been suppressed for the past five decades. That would be a better sentence.


USA

Texas, US: Man Starts Shooting After an Increase in Taco Bell Prices

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© Reuters/Keith Bedford
San Antonio - While no one exactly enjoys price increases, one San Antonio man took a 50-cent hike on Taco Bell burritos a little too hard.

The drive-thru customer flew into a "taco rage" after learning that Taco Bell's special on Beefy Crunch Burritos had ended and they were no longer selling for 99 cents each--they were now priced at $1.49 each. The man responded by firing into the drive-thru window at the fast food restaurant. While it was a BB gun that he fired, he had a semi-automatic rifle and a pistol on him as well.

What's even more scary is that those BB shots (which luckily didn't hurt anyone) weren't enough to subdue the man's rage as he opened fire at police cars as officers responded to the Taco Bell manager's call for help.

After a SWAT team stand-off, a barricaded motel room and some tear gas, the man was taken into custody and was originally to be charged with attempted capital murder but will instead be charged with "two felony counts of aggravated assault," which has a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

Footprints

Yemen Leader Willing to Step Down This Year

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© msnbc.com
Saleh vows to never hand over power to the military, spokesman says

Sanaa - A spokesman for President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Tuesday that the Yemeni leader is willing to step down by the end of the year as part of a "constitutional" transfer of power.

Ahmed al-Sufi told The Associated Press that Saleh informed senior Yemeni officials, military commanders and tribal leaders of his intention in meetings on Monday night.

He said the president also vowed never to hand over power to the military.

Saleh's comments are a reversal of his rejection earlier this month of an opposition proposal demanding his resignation by the year's end.

It is not clear whether the opposition movement calling for Saleh's ouster will accept his latest offer, especially after his security forces shot dead more than 40 protesters on Friday.

On Monday, a top military commander and at least 18 other senior officers defected to the opposition movement demanding the ouster of Yemen's embattled president.

Comment: Interesting to note is the continued references to Al-CIAda by the media. Also, Gadhafi has made references to Al-Qaida in several speeches in recent news. Why the recent extra push about Al-Qaida in the news, is it due to so many waking up to the truth about 9/11 and Empire America?


Nuke

All six Japanese nuclear reactors hooked up to power lines

Emergency crews dump seawater on spent fuel pool, reducing temperatures

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© Tokyo Electric Power via AP

Fukushima, Japan - Workers reconnected power lines to all six reactor units at Japan's radiation-leaking nuclear plant Tuesday, its operator said, marking a significant step in bringing the overheated complex under control.

In making an announcement after days of anxious waiting by the public, Tokyo Electric Power Co. cautioned that much work needed to be done before the electricity can be turned on. Workers are checking all additional equipment for damage to make sure cooling systems can be safely operated, Tokyo Electric said.

In another advance, emergency crews dumped 18 tons of seawater into nearly boiling storage pool holding spent nuclear fuel, cooling it to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, Japan's nuclear safety agency said. Steam, possibly carrying radioactive elements, had been rising for two days, and the move lessens the chances that more radiation will seep into the air.

The power lines and the sustained dousing together mean authorities are closer to bringing the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, with its six reactors and spent fuel pools, under control. Officials and experts, however, have said days, even weeks would be needed to replace damaged equipment and vent any volatile gas to make sure electricity does not spark an explosion.

Eagle

US jet crashes in Libya, both crew are safe

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© AP Photo/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Air Force Air Force shows an F-15E Strike eagle in-flight over Afghanistan on Oct. 7 2008.
Berlin - A U.S. fighter jet crashed in Libya after an apparent equipment malfunction but both crewmembers were able to eject and were back in American hands with only minor injuries, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The F-15E Strike Eagle jet was conducting a mission Monday night against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses when it crashed at 2130 GMT (5:30 p.m. EDT), said Lt. Cmdr. Karin Burzynski, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Africa Command.

A spokesman for the Libyan opposition, Mohammed Ali, said the U.S. plane went down about 25 miles (40 kilometers) outside of the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city.

Britain's Telegraph newspaper published a series of photographs it said was the wreckage of the plane, showing people milling around the burned-out aircraft in a Libyan field.

One of the jet's airmen landed in a field of sheep after ejecting from the plane, then raised his hands and called out "OK, OK" to a crowd who had gathered, the Telegraph cited witness Younis Amruni, 27, as saying.

Chess

At defiant march, Syrians shout 'No more fear!'

syrian protests
© AP Photo/Hussein Malla
A Syrian municipality worker extinguishes a burned court room that was set on fire by Syrian anti-government protesters, in the southern city of Daraa, Syria, Monday March 21, 2011. Mourners chanting 'No more fear!' have marched through a Syrian city where anti-government protesters had deadly confrontations with security forces in recent days. The violence in Daraa, a city of about 300,000 near the border with Jordan, was fast becoming a major challenge for President Bashar Assad, who tried to contain the situation by freeing detainees and promising to fire officials responsible for the violence.
Syrians chanting "No more fear!" held a defiant march Monday after a deadly government crackdown failed to quash three days of mass protests in a southern city - an extraordinary outpouring in a country that is known for brutally suppressing dissent.

Riot police armed with clubs chased the small group away without casualties, but traces of earlier, larger demonstrations were everywhere: burned-out and looted government buildings, a dozen torched vehicles, an office of the ruling Baath party with its windows knocked out. Protesters also burned an office of the telecommunications company Syriatel, which is owned in part by the president's cousin.

The unrest in the city of Daraa started Friday after security troops fired at protesters, killing five people. Over the next two days, two more people died and authorities sealed the city, allowing people out but not in, as thousands of enraged protesters set fire to government buildings and demonstrated around the city.

Among the victims was 11-year-old Mundhir Masalmi, who died Monday after suffering tear gas inhalation a day earlier, an activist told The Associated Press. The activist asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor complained Monday that reports indicate the Syrian government "has used disproportionate force against civilians, and in particular against demonstrators and mourners in Daraa."

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that Syria should "cease use of live fire and other excessive force against protesters." On Monday, an Associated Press team was allowed into Daraa, accompanied by two government minders who kept them away from protesters and would not allow photographs of demonstrations. Army checkpoints circled the city and plainclothes officers were deployed in key areas.

Comment: The PTB's next domino in the drive to reshape the Middle East?


X

Coalition air strikes see waning support from Arabs, China and Russia

Arab League and China express regret as Moscow suggests US-led coalition is going beyond its mandate

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© Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
The next phase of coalition operations is expected to involve British Tornado ground attack jets.
Arab support for the US-led war in Libya showed signs of fraying today in reaction to the sheer destructive power of the initial attack, claims of civilian deaths and a warning by Muammar Gaddafi to prepare for "a long war".

The secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, appeared to wobble just over a week after his organization, which represents 23 Arab states, voted in favour of a no-fly zone. Pictures of charred bodies led to not only the Arab League but also Russia and China expressing regret over the violence. Moscow claimed the US-led coalition was going beyond its UN mandate to protect civilians and called for an end to the "indiscriminate use of force".

As anti-aircraft fire was heard across Tripoli, and a second wave of attacks was launched targeting ground forces and air defenses, suggesting a second night of bombardment, the US claimed it had control of the skies over Libya and had stopped Gaddafi's advance against rebel positions. The start of the mission, labelled Operation Odyssey Dawn, included firing more than 100 Tomahawk missiles at Gaddafi's air defenses. Defense sources said the next phase would be to cut supply lines to Gaddafi's front-line troops and was expected to involve British Tornado ground attack jets.

A short time later Libya announced another ceasefire, which was issued in the name of the Libyan government and armed forces, rather than Gaddafi.

Heart

Hugo Chavez condemns Libya airstrikes as madness

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© Associated Press/Fernando Llano
Libya's President Moammar Gadhafi, left, and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez wave upon their arrival to the old port in Porlamar, on Margarita Island, Venezuela. Sept. 28, 2009
Caracas, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez condemned what he called "indiscriminate bombing" by the U.S. and its allies in Libya, saying Sunday that the assault is unjustified and will only unleash more bloodshed.

Cuba's government also criticized the attacks and called for the conflict to be resolved through negotiation.

Chavez said the U.S. is after Libya's oil, and warned President Barack Obama not to try any similar intervention in the South American country. "With Venezuela, don't even think about it, Mr. Obama," he said.

Chavez, who has long-standing ties to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, demanded the airstrikes be halted and echoed claims of civilian casualties by Libya's government, which said 48 people were killed.

"Civilian victims have now begun to appear because some bombs are launched - 200, 400 bombs from out there at sea - and those bombs fall where they fall," Chavez said during his weekly television and radio program.

Mail

To my Dear Obama, our son, says Gaddafi, defending attack on rebels

Calling Barack Obama as "our son", Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi sent a message to the US President defending his decision to attack the rebels fighting to overthrow him.

Gaddafi(68) also wrote a letter to the French and British leaders, and the UN Secretary General, saying the Security Council resolution was "void" and violated the UN charter, warning them that they would "regret" any intervention.

"Libya is not for you, Libya is for the Libyans," he said.

Details of Gaddafi's letters were released by the Libyan government spokesman at a news conference in Tripoli.

Defending his decision to attack rebel cities, Gaddafi told Obama, "Al Qaeda is an armed organisation, passing through Algeria, Mauritania and Mali. What would you do if you found them controlling American cities with the power of weapons? What would you do, so I can follow your example."

2 + 2 = 4

USA: How Dumb Are We?

Newsweek gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. Citizenship Test--38 percent failed. The country's future is imperiled by our ignorance.
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© Josh McKible/Newsweek
What Don't You Know? Take the Quiz.

They're the sort of scores that drive high-school history teachers to drink. When Newsweek recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America's official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn't name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn't correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn't even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

Don't get us wrong: civic ignorance is nothing new. For as long as they've existed, Americans have been misunderstanding checks and balances and misidentifying their senators. And they've been lamenting the philistinism of their peers ever since pollsters started publishing these dispiriting surveys back in Harry Truman's day. (He was a president, by the way.) According to a study by Michael X. Delli Carpini, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, the yearly shifts in civic knowledge since World War II have averaged out to "slightly under 1 percent."

But the world has changed. And unfortunately, it's becoming more and more inhospitable to incurious know-nothings - like us.