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Canada: A Federal Agency Costing Millions of Dollars 'Does Nothing'

If the Harper government is serious about cutting 'the waste' in Ottawa, here's a good place to start.

According to a CBC News exclusive story, a federal agency ironically created by the fiscally conservative Harper government in 2008, is costing taxpayers millions of dollars and is pretty much achieving nothing.

The Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board (CEIFB), which reports to Parliament through the Minister of Human Resources, was conceived to set EI premium rates, to manage EI surpluses, and to oversee a $2 billion contingency fund.

But as CBC reports, government policy has made the CEIFB redundant.

In all three years the CEIFB has been in existence, the Harper government capped EI rates in 2009 so the Board hasn't had to set EI premiums.

Info

Subculture of Americans Prepares for Civilization's Collapse

Nuclear Bomb
© Global Research

When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon.

"In an instant, anything can happen," she told Reuters. "And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared."

Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as "preppers." Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.

They are following in the footsteps of hippies in the 1960s who set up communes to separate themselves from what they saw as a materialistic society, and the survivalists in the 1990s who were hoping to escape the dictates of what they perceived as an increasingly secular and oppressive government.

Preppers, though are, worried about no government.

Tegeler, 57, has turned her home in rural Virginia into a "survival center," complete with a large generator, portable heaters, water tanks, and a two-year supply of freeze-dried food that her sister recently gave her as a birthday present. She says that in case of emergency, she could survive indefinitely in her home. And she thinks that emergency could come soon.

"I think this economy is about to fall apart," she said.

Cloud Lightning

South African Weather Bill Creates a Storm of Controversy

Lightning over Cape Town, South Africa.
© Warren Tyrer/Flickr
Lightning over Cape Town, South Africa.
Proposed law would make unauthorized storm predictions punishable by heavy fines and 10 years in jail.

A proposed law in South Africa would theoretically punish anyone who makes a prediction about severe weather or air pollution with heavy fines or jail time if they did not first receive written permission from the government-funded South African Weather Service (SAWS).

As written, the South African Weather Service Amendment Bill would affect not just TV weathermen and online weather sites but also community-based weather services. First offenses would be punished with a fine or up to 5 million rand (about $630,000) or five years in jail. The fines and jail time would be doubled for subsequent offenses.

The law was widely but inaccurately reported last week as punishing weather forecasters who make incorrect predictions with jail time, perhaps inspired by a Daily Telegraph headline that read "South African weather forecasters who get it wrong face imprisonment." The Telegraph story itself accurately reported on the bill, which has been criticized for creating a monopoly for SAWS weather reports, including radar images and text message alerts, which are only available to the public after paying a subscription fee.

Comment: The PTB really ARE AFRAID of the changing weather and they know they have no control over what is happening with climate change. They want to keep control at all costs and this is about the stupidest thing we've ever heard of in that respect. Do they think that not announcing violent weather will prevent it from happening? What about the millions of people put at risk without warning? Can you people believe that whoever came up with this retarded idea can actually dress himself?


Radar

Escalating Cyber War Spells Trouble for Internet Freedom

cyberwar graphic
© n/a
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." - Gandhi

The cyber war escalated to a whole new level yesterday. The U.S. government shut down the popular website MegaUpload at the behest of corporate interests. The Feds accused MegaUpload of stealing $500 million in potential lost revenue from copyright holders.

Almost immediately, the hacktivist group Anonymous retaliated by launching massive DDoS attacks on several websites including the US Copyright Office, Department of Justice, FBI.gov, Universal Music Group, Music Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America. The attack called "Operation MegaUpload" is also said to be targeting Whitehouse.gov.

Many Internet freedom and privacy activists are cheering Anonymous' assault against the U.S. Government and the corporate interests that control it. But I'm getting the eerie feeling that Anonymous is playing right into the hands of those who wish to control and censor the Internet.

Airplane

France: More Cracks Found in Airbus A380 Wings

Image
© Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes
An Airbus A380, the world's largest jetliner, takes part in a flying display during the 49th Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget airport near Paris June 26, 2011.
Airbus said on Thursday it had discovered more cracks in the wings of two A380 superjumbo aircraft but insisted the world's largest jetliner remains safe to fly.

It is the second time in as many weeks that hairline cracks have been reported in the wings of the double-decker aircraft, which first entered service four years ago, and they are expected to lead to additional safety checks.

"Airbus confirms that some additional cracks have been found on a limited number of non-critical brackets ... inside the wings of some A380s," the planemaker said in a statement.

"Airbus emphasizes that these cracks do not affect the safe operation of the aircraft".

Airbus has dismissed calls to ground its superjumbo fleet over the cracks, which first came to light during repairs of a Qantas A380 that was damaged by an engine blowout shortly after taking off from Singapore in November 2010.

Phoenix

5 Unemployed Moroccans Set Selves on Fire


Five unemployed Moroccan men set themselves on fire in the capital Rabat as part of widespread demonstrations in the country over the lack of jobs, especially for university graduates, a rights activist said Thursday. Three were burned badly enough to be hospitalized.

Once rare, self-immolation became a tactic of protest in the Middle East and North Africa ever since a vegetable seller in Tunisia set himself on fire in December 2010 to protest police harassment, setting off an uprising that toppled the government and sparked similar movements elsewhere in the region.

The Moroccans were part of the "unemployed graduates" movement, a loose collections of associations across the country filled with millions of university graduates demanding jobs. The demonstrations are often violently dispersed by police and in some towns and cities have resulted in sustained clashes.

While the official unemployment rate is only 9.1 percent nationally, it rises to around 16 percent for graduates.

Pistol

US, Tennessee: 3 Fatally Shot in Memphis; Suspect Turns Self In

Authorities say a domestic argument turned violent when a man fatally shot his girlfriend and her parents in the family's home in south Memphis. The suspect then turned himself in to authorities with his 4-year-old in tow.

Memphis police say they found the girlfriend, Pashea Fisher, 23, and her father, Arithio Fisher, 56, dead in a bedroom early Thursday. Her mother, Patricia Fisher, 46, was taken to a hospital, where she later died.

Police have withheld the name of the suspect because he has not been charged. Spokeswoman Karen Rudolph says the shooter left the home but then surrendered to authorities about two hours later. He showed up at a police station with his and his girlfriend's daughter. The girl was turned over to children's services officials.

Beer

US: Florida Police Officers Paid to Drink Alcohol, Eat Doritos On the Job

Image
© unknown
The "Intoxilyzer 8000"
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has fallen under scrutiny for paying several employees to drink alcohol on the job in order to test a breathalyzer.

Last October, the department allocated $300 for Jim Beam whiskey, Doritos and drink mixers. The Herald Tribune reports that it was part of an effort to preserve the embattled "Intoxilyzer 8000" from being phased out. 15 law enforcement employees were then invited to department headquarters in Tallahassee to drink and eat on the job.

The department set up a video camera to record the events, while FDLE crime analysts, staff assistants and Capitol Police officers drank. Blood tests were then taken and sent to a local lab with a total price tag of $8,000 for the effort.

Phoenix

US: Fire at Professor's New Jersey Home Yields Cache of Child Porn

Image
© The Associated Press/Wayne Parry
The Eagleswood N.J. home of Gamal El-Zoghby is seen on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012.
A single magazine from the 1970s with pornographic images of pre-pubescent girls was enough to get a New York architecture professor arrested after firefighters found it while battling a blaze in his home at the Jersey shore.

Shortly before noon on Tuesday, firefighters received a report that the waterfront home of 76-year-old Gamal El-Zoghby was ablaze. They doused the flames, and were checking for hidden pockets of flame behind the walls by pulling down panels of sheet rock, when the magazine fell from behind one of the panels, State Police spokesman Trooper Christopher Kay said.

The home was unoccupied at the time the fire broke out. Some time afterward, El-Zoghby arrived at the house, then went to a nearby State Police barracks, where he was questioned and charged with child endangerment before being released on his own recognizance.

Reached Thursday by The Associated Press at his home in Manhattan, El-Zoghby refused to discuss the case, referring questions to a lawyer who later declined comment.

Info

US: Man Convicted of Killing Georgia Girl Found Dead

Image
© Police Handout
Ryan Brunn
A 20-year-old maintenance worker who this week pleaded guilty to molesting and killing a 7-year-old girl was found dead of an apparent suicide in his prison cell Thursday, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Ryan Brunn was found unresponsive at 4:15 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson, said spokeswoman Kristen Stancil. Brunn was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:37 p.m., Stancil said in an email to The Associated Press.

Brunn pleaded guilty on Tuesday to killing Jorelys Rivera on Dec. 2. Her body was found in a trash compactor at the Canton apartment complex where she lived and he worked. At the hearing, Brunn explained his actions in chilling detail before apologizing to Rivera's family. A judge then sentenced him to life in prison without parole.