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Air Canada Customer Service Employees Go on Strike After Talks Fail

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© CBC
Air Canada workers rallied at Toronto's Pearson airport on Thursday.
Air Canada's customer service agents and other airport workers are on strike after negotiations between their union and the airline failed to reach an agreement.

A spokesman from the Canadian Auto Workers union, which represents the 3,800 striking employees, says pensions and wages were key sticking points.

Union president Ken Lewenza had said earlier there was a "huge gap" between the airline and the union on those two issues.

Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) says it has a contingency plan in place to continue operating a full schedule even as the strike goes ahead.

The airline urges passengers to check its website because a high volume of calls could make it a long wait to get through to its call centres, which were largely operated by employees who have now walked off the job.

Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has said she's concerned about the potential impact of a work stoppage on Canadians and on Canada's economic recovery.

Penis Pump

"Homophobia Is Apparently Associated With Homosexual Arousal"

"..that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies," concludes a 1996 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Yes, the research is 15 years old, but in light of several recent anti-gay rants in the news, I couldn't help but notice Nathan Heflick's latest post at Psychology Today:

Alarm Clock

No Justice in Kafka's America

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© Mr. Fish
In Franz Kafka's short story Before the Law a tireless supplicant spends his life praying for admittance into the courts of justice. He sits outside the law court for days, months and years. He makes many attempts to be admitted. He sacrifices everything he owns to sway or bribe the stern doorkeeper. He ages, grows feeble and finally childish. He is told as he nears death that the entrance was constructed solely for him and it will now be closed.

Justice has become as unattainable for Muslim activists in the United States as it was for Kafka's frustrated petitioner. The draconian legal mechanisms that condemn Muslim Americans who speak out publicly about the outrages we commit in the Middle East have left many, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, wasting away in supermax prisons. These citizens posed no security threat. But they dared to speak a truth about the sordid conduct of our nation that the state found unpalatable. And in the bipartisan war on terror, waged by Republicans and Democrats, this ugly truth in America is branded seditious.

The best the U.S. government could offer as evidence of Fahad's crimes was that an acquaintance who stayed in his apartment with him while he was a graduate student in London had raincoats, ponchos and waterproof socks in luggage at the apartment and that the acquaintance eventually delivered these to al-Qaida. But I doubt the government is overly concerned with a suitcase full of waterproof socks taken to Pakistan. The reason Fahad Hashmi was targeted was because, like the Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Al-Arian, he was fearless and zealous in his defense of those being bombed, shot, terrorized and killed throughout the Muslim world while he was a student at Brooklyn College. Fahad was deeply religious, and some of his views, including his praise of the Afghan resistance, were to me unpalatable, but he had a right to express these sentiments. More important, he had a right to expect freedom from persecution and imprisonment because of his opinions. Facing the possibility of a 70-year sentence in prison and having already spent four years in jail, much of it in solitary confinement, he accepted a plea bargain on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism.

Bad Guys

16 top Gingrich staff members resign

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© Cheryl Senter / The Associated Press
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, accompanied by his wife, Callista, suffered a severe blow to his presidential campaign when his top staffers quit.
Washington - The entire top echelon of Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign resigned on Thursday, a stunning mass exodus that left his bid for the Republican nomination in tatters.

But the former House speaker vowed defiantly to remain a candidate.

"I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring," the Gingrich said in a posting to his Facebook page shortly after the 16 aides resigned. "The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles."

Rick Tyler, Gingrich's spokesman, said that he, campaign manager Rob Johnson and senior strategists had all quit, along with aides in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Other officials said Gingrich was informed that his entire high command was quitting in a meeting at his headquarters in Washington. They cited differences over the direction of the campaign.

Che Guevara

Jordan's king unhurt in attack on motorcade

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© Feng Li/Getty Images
Jordan's King Abdullah II pictured during a visit to Beijing. Stones and bottles were allegedly aimed at his car during a visit to Tafila, 125 miles south of Amman.
Attack by stone and bottle throwing youths hours after King Abdullah II announced political reforms is denied by government

The motorcade of King Abdullah II of Jordan has reportedly come under attack from protesters throwing bottles and stones during a visit to a town in the country's south.

Abdullah was unhurt in the attack, which came hours after he bowed to popular demands for political reform, agreeing to have an elected prime minister from a parliamentary majority replace the current method of appointing the cabinet.

An unnamed security official said young people attacked the motorcade in two different areas in Tafila, 125 miles south of the capital Amman.

A government spokesman, Taher Edwan, later rejected the account.

Pistol

US: Man Charged in 99-Cent Robbery Attempt

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© unknown
Christopher Tisley
Cook County judge set bail at $50,000 today for a man charged with displaying a handgun to a convenience store clerk who refused to give him 99 cents.

According to court records, Christopher Tisley, 34, walked into a convenience store in the 2800 block of West Lawrence Avenue in the Ravenswood neighborhood around 3 a.m. Saturday and demanded the money. When the clerk refused, he displayed a gun.

Tisley, of the 5800 block of South Morgan Street, exited the store after a customer walked in, allowing the clerk to lock the door. Tisley then returned and repeatedly pounded on the windows of the store, court records state.

Smoking

Rebellious Greeks defeat smoking ban... by ignoring it en masse!

Much trumpeted legislation aimed at stamping out smoking in Greece, Europe's most tobacco addicted nation, has been declared a failure by health campaigners.

A lack of enforcement and widespread public defiance is being blamed for the Greeks' inability to conform to European standards.

As the BBC's Malcolm Brabant reports, Greek rebelliousness is one of the biggest obstacles.



Comment: Very interesting choice of words from this BBC reporter:
"This story tells you that there is a rich and dynamic scene of resistance running through the Greek national psyche. Many Greeks take an almost willful delight in defying authority. As it is this invisible, yet enormously powerful, rebellious force that the Greek government has to contend with as it tries to convince the population to accept its austerity programme."
Whether he realised it or not, this is exactly what it all boils down to with smoking. You have to wonder to what extent the Powers That Be are aware that economic austerity, shock doctrines and false-flag terrorist attacks are far more difficult to foist on populations that smoke!

For the control example, witness Ireland, whose population just rolled over when it was told that it would be piloting the fascist anti-smoking ban shortly after 9/11. When it came time for its economic shock therapy in late 2010, barely a whimper was raised in defiance.

The Greeks are right - smoking IS a HUMAN RIGHT!

Bizarro Earth

Fury of Kelly widow over inquest

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© Reuters
Dr Kelly's widow, Janice.
David Kelly's family have dramatically intensified the row over his death by accusing Lord Hutton of letting the Government off the hook.

Dr Kelly's widow Janice and their three daughters said the former judge had not fully examined how much the actions and failings of the Defence Ministry affected the scientist's state of mind.

Their attack came as a coroner ruled that there was no need to reconvene an inquest into Dr Kelly's death, which Lord Hutton concluded was suicide.

Jeremy Gompertz, QC, representing the family, told Oxford coroner Nicholas Gardiner yesterday that the family accepted Lord Hutton's findings "as to the mode and approximate cause of Dr Kelly's death".

But he said they were disappointed he did not "consider more fully the extent to which the state of mind in which Dr Kelly took his own life was induced by the failings of the Ministry of Defence in the exercise of the duty of care owed as his employer". Mrs Kelly, 58, may now sue the MoD for compensation.

Crucial questions left unanswered

The decision not to resume the inquest also came under fire last night, with experts warning that crucial questions about the death of the weapons inspector will be left unanswered. Dr Michael Powers, himself a coroner, said: 'I am concerned that the due process has not been followed.

"There evidently are contradictory views that were never put to the experts who gave evidence before Lord Hutton.

"In consequence the rigours that are normally undertaken at a coroner's inquest simply were not fulfilled."

The Kelly family's statement was their first detailed public response to the much-criticised Hutton report.

Comment: For more information regarding the David Kelly case, see this Sott link:

WMD Scientist, Dr. David Kelly, Suicide Coverup


Brick Wall

WMD Scientist, Dr. David Kelly, Suicide Coverup

Attorney general rules against Dr David Kelly inquest

BBC REPORT

The attorney general has rejected calls for an inquest into the death in 2003 of government scientist Dr David Kelly.

Dominic Grieve said the evidence Dr Kelly killed himself was "overwhelming" and rejected claims of a "cover-up".

Dr Kelly was found dead after he was exposed as the source of a BBC story which led to a row with the then Labour government over Iraq intelligence.


Comment: For more information on the David Kelly case, see these Sott links:

Coverup and Complicity: The Mysterious Death of David Kelly: Doctors Challenge Cameron Government

Ethnic specific weapons: The real story behind the murder of Dr David Kelly


Handcuffs

Mass Brawl at 30,000 Feet Sees 76-Year-Old Passenger Arrested Over 30-Minute Fight on Virgin Flight to Barbados

  • 'It was vicious. It was frightening. There were punches going off in all directions'


A man aged 76 and two members of his family were arrested after a 'vicious' punch-up on a plane that took cabin crew 30 minutes to break up.

Derek Edmond, his daughter Zoe King and her husband Martin were on a Virgin Atlantic flight from Gatwick to Barbados when a Danish family sitting nearby accused them of being too noisy.

Police said Mrs King, 46, was celebrating her birthday and she and her family had been drinking for much of the eight-hour flight.
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© Facebook
Rowdy: British passengers who were allegedly involved in a mid-air brawl on a flight to Barbados being questioned by police on the island

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© unknown
Fracas at 30,000ft: Up to 12 people are being questioned by police in Barbados after a fight broke out mid-air on a flight from Gatwick to Barbados