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Sun, 10 Dec 2023
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'Our Savings Have Vanished - We've Lost Everything'

Dhaka crowd
© Reuters
Chanting investors accuse brokers of dishonesty at Dhaka's stock exchange
Angry investors take to streets as Dhaka's stock exchange crashes.

Police in Bangladesh used tear gas and water canons to disperse angry protests by crowds of small investors after a dramatic free-fall plunge on the country's stock market caused the authorities to suspend trading.

Hundreds of outraged investors took to the streets outside the stock exchange in the Motijheel neighbourhood of the nation's capital after the worst plunge in the country's history saw the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) fall by 660 points, or 9.25 per cent, in less than an hour.

Chanting slogans that accused brokers and traders of manipulating stock prices and of the government of failing to properly regulate the situation, the small-scale investors smashed up cars, burned tyres and ran loose until police stepped in to break them up. There were other protests in smaller cities and towns. Four journalists were reportedly beaten by police.

Last night, with trading due to restart later today in both Dhaka and the country's second city, Chittagong, Bangladesh's prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, met with senior financial officials including the governor of the central bank, and ordered them to take steps to try and ease the crisis. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), after an emergency meeting with the central bank, said trading - which was halted yesterday after just an hour - could resume.

But the crisis that began on Sunday, when the DSE's bench mark Dhaka Stock Exchange general index (DGEN) fell by almost 8 per cent, has long been smouldering. Last month there were similar demonstrations to those yesterday when the market fell by around 7 per cent, triggering panic among investors. Since early December, the index - which had climbed by more than 80 per cent in 2010 - has fallen by 27 per cent.


BP Agent's Home Had Secret Room: Feds


The agent is accused of harboring his undocumented father

Investigators who searched the Imperial Beach home of a U.S. Border Patrol agent said they found an undocumented man in a hidden room along with evidence of drug dealing.

According to the FBI, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., 26, was arrested Monday at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station and stands accused of harboring illegal immigrants, including his father.

Around 6 a.m.Tuesday, a SWAT team raided Manzano's house in the 3600 block of Shooting Star Drive in San Ysidro and arrested suspected undocumented immigrant Jose Alfredo Garrido-Morena, also 26.

"It looked like a movie. It was a big scene," said neighbor Daniel Lazo. "Seems impossible. They were everywhere."

"They went inside every house," Lazo said. "We couldn't get out. It was crazy."


Bodies Doubled Up At Cook County Morgue

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Chicago - WBBM Newsradio 780 has learned that the cooler at the Cook County morgue is so crowded right now, bodies are doubled-up on some of the trays.

Why are there so many bodies?

"We had this huge upswing in deaths right at the end of the year, and with the holidays being on Saturdays, it really created a backlog because the funeral directors weren't coming in," Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Nancy Jones tells WBBM Newsradio 780′s Steve Miller.

Jones adds that more bodies could not go out because coffins were on back order.

But Jones says the coffins are now in, and a mass county burial is scheduled for next week.

"The cooler really isn't in bad shape right now," Jones said. "We do have a fair number of bodies, but it has had more bodies in it at other times."

Bad Guys

Exclusive Interview: Julian Assange on Murdoch, Manning and the threat from China

© Getty Images
WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.
The WikiLeaks founder talks to John Pilger.

In this week's New Statesman, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks to John Pilger about Bradley Manning, his "insurance" files on Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp - and which country is the real enemy of WikiLeaks.

The "technological enemy" of WikiLeaks is not the US - but China, according to Assange.

"China is the worst offender," when it comes to censorship, says the controversial whistleblower. "China has aggressive and sophisticated interception technology that places itself between every reader inside China and every information source outside China. We've been fighting a running battle to make sure we can get information through, and there are now all sorts of ways Chinese readers can get on to our site."

On Bradley Manning - the US soldier accused of leaking the diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks - Assange says: "I'd never heard his name before it was published in the press." He argues that the US is trying to use Manning - currently stuck in solitary confinement in the US - to build a case against the WikiLeaks founder:

Bizarro Earth

Haiti Earthquake One Year On: The Squalid Tent Cities Where Rape Gangs and Disease Run Rife

  • Haiti remembers its dead with two day memorial
  • 1.2m still trapped in squalid tent cities
  • Charities struggle with cholera epidemic
  • Bill Clinton jets in to join commemorations

From the air they form a neat patchwork of grey and blue, nestling between rundown factories and crumbling slums.

But on the ground these sprawling tent cities are a fetid mass of humanity where cholera and crime run rife.

A year since a cataclysmic earthquake levelled much of Haiti, little has changed for the 1.2million residents still scraping an existence in these squalid refugee camps.

Survivors have been further blighted by an outbreak of the deadly water-borne disease cholera. The illness has struck 155,000 since October, killing 3,651.

© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Ground zero: One year after a massive earthquake destroyed Haiti more than a million people are still living in tent camps such as this one

© GeoEye
Disfigured: A satellite image shows the clusters of blue and white across the city which are the temporary refugee camps


US: Sacramento Atheist Files Another Challenge to 'In God We Trust'

Michael Newdow
© Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press
Michael Newdow now has multiple First Amendment arguments pending before the Supreme Court. Separately, he is also challenging the phrase "So help me God" in the presidential oath. Newdow said Wednesday a third petition, challenging the Pledge of Allegiance, will soon arrive at the court.
Sacramento area attorney and dedicated atheist Michael Newdow is making another run at "In God We Trust," with a new Supreme Court petition challenging the national motto.

In an uphill battle, Newdow is asking the nine justices to review an appellate court's rejection of his claim that the invocation of God on official currency violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

"Devout atheists are forced to choose between not using what is often the only available legal tender and committing what they consider blasphemy," Newdow argued in his petition placed on the court's docket Tuesday.

With his latest legal petition, Newdow now has multiple First Amendment arguments pending before the Supreme Court. Separately, he is also challenging the phrase "So help me God" in the presidential oath. Newdow said Wednesday a third petition, challenging the Pledge of Allegiance, will soon arrive at the court.

Formal responses in the cases aren't due until at least mid-February, and it could take several months before Supreme Court justices consider the petitions in a closed-door conference. Nonetheless, Newdow concedes the odds are stacked against him.

Black Cat

Gabrielle Giffords Shooting: Jared Loughner May Have Been Influenced by Occult

Loughner altar
© Splash
A macabre 'altar' in the backyard of Tucson shooter Jared Loughner
FBI investigators delving into the warped mind of Tucson massacre suspect Jared Loughner are exploring whether he was influenced by the occult and a Right-wing conspiracy theorist.

In messages left on the internet before the shooting Loughner, 22, revealed himself to be a social outcast with paranoid, nihilistic beliefs and a fixation with grammar.

At a public meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords three years ago he asked: "What is government if it doesn't exist?"

It left the politician baffled.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a US civil rights group, Loughner's language and beliefs appeared to resemble those of David Wynn Miller, a Milwaukee-based activist who believes that the US government uses grammar to control people's minds.

Miller, 62, a retired welder, has described himself as a plenipotentiary judge, ambassador, banker, genius and King of Hawaii, and invented his own form of grammar called "truth language", that is said to set people free of the government.

He said he was appalled by the shootings, but agreed with Loughner's pre-shooting internet statement that "the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar". Miller told the Milwaukee Journal that Loughner could have visited his website but he didn't know him and he was "obviously disturbed".

Bad Guys

Catholic Leaders Warn of "Totalitarian" Venezuela

Caracas - Roman Catholic leaders in Venezuela are calling for President Hugo Chavez to give up special lawmaking powers granted to him by his congressional allies.

The Venezuelan Bishops' Conference condemned a package of laws approved last month by the National Assembly, including one that grants Chavez power to enact laws by decree for the next 18 months. Chavez gained those powers shortly before a new congress took office with more opposition lawmakers.

A statement from the bishops released Tuesday accuses Chavez of trying to impose a totalitarian system in Venezuela.

Chavez and the bishops have feuded for years. Chavez has accused the Catholic leadership of neglecting the poor and of siding with his opponents and the rich.

Bad Guys

In Israel They Shackle (Palestinian) Children

Hatem S
© Nova News
Hatem S. On 23 Dec, 2010, 17 year old Hatem is shot in the head whilst buying vegetables, about 800 meters from the border with Israel
Perhaps the most shocking of all things in Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is the way that children are treated. It is unimaginable that an Jewish Israeli child would be brought to court in shackles or even be placed in a court of law.

Beatings and abuse of children by the Israeli military is common and judges, such as the one below, don't even blink an eye. Thus is legal racism established.

Below this is a paper circulated by Dr Derek Summerfield from Defence for Children International - Palestine Section, on the shooting of children working near the northern border of Gaza. (Tony Greenstein)

The Children's Judge

True, in the military courtroom itself Palestinians are neither shot nor beaten. They are not 'targeted for elimination' nor even sentenced to death. At least not in the courtroom. But the military court is also the place where all illusions die. And hopes. Because that is where Palestinians learn that injury caused them, is no error, nor misunderstanding, but a matter of policy. That is where they learn that law regarding Palestinians is nothing short of another kind of weapon. One of many. Among the tanks and planes and cluster bombs and checkpoints and Separation Wall and white phosphorus and the IOF spokesman.

The military court is the end of ends. The last judgment. The final accusation, a-priori, of Palestinians only because they are Palestinians.

And courtroom number 2, where children are put on trial, is the place beyond that end. The place where all the words end.

Only two family members are allowed to come to the trial. This is usually the only time they can come and see their son, and they do. Time after time. They may bring cigarettes and money for the long day awaiting them. Nothing else. Not even medication, nor tissues, nor food, nor a book or a newspaper. We, visitors who are not Palestinian, are allowed to bring in a notebook and pen. But not tissues. We have no privileges concerning tissues.

Perhaps because tissues are evidence that there is something to cry over, and the State of Israel is not willing to name its own deeds at the end of which lies weeping. And its necessity is the evidence and the visibility of that which Israel is not willing to name, that and the anticipated weeping. Perhaps that is why tissues are not allowed in court.

One man managed to smuggle in a roll of toilet paper despite the order forbidding tissues. Apparently deep in his clothes he dared to hide toilet paper, soft as tissues. Now he moved from woman to woman, handing out bits of toilet paper to every single one of them, all the mothers, so they would have it ready for the tears when they would come. When he handed it to us as well we were ashamed, because we have no spouses or sons in jail. And because the man only had one roll of paper, we felt uneasy that we were getting some at the expense of someone else.

Finally we were lucky to have gotten it. Because all that remains in this accursed place is to weep. The warmth of the wet, salty tears is the only possibly warmth inside this sinister ticking mechanism that no word could encompass or cover.

Bad Guys

Germany Knew Eichmann's Hiding Place Years Before His Capture

Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem in 1961.
Document Find Hailed as Sensation

West Germany could have hunted down Adolf Eichmann, the chief organizer of the Holocaust, as early as 1952, eight years before Israeli agents caught him in Buenos Aires, according to a newly released document that suggests postwar Germany was unready and unwilling to put him on trial.

The revelation has been described as a sensation, and it sheds light on West Germany's reluctance to confront its past in the decades following the Holocaust.

A secret service document obtained by the German mass-circulation daily Bild from the archives of the BND, the country's foreign intelligence service, shows that the BND knew the location of the Adolf Eichmann, the biggest Nazi criminal still at large at the time, as early as 1952 -- a full eight years before he was caught in Buenos Aires by Israeli agents. He was put on trial in Israel, found guilty of crimes against humanity, and hanged in 1962.

The typewritten file card states that Eichmann was living in Argentina under the alias Clemens. "The address of E. is known to the editor-in-chief of the German newspaper in Argentina 'Der Weg'," the card says.

In fact, Eichmann lived in Argentina under the pseudonym Ricardo Klement. Bild took legal action to force the BND to release some classified documents relating to Eichmann, and found the file card among them.

Until now, the earliest date that Western intelligence agencies are known to have been aware of Eichmann's location was 1956, said German historian Bettina Stangneth, who described the finding as a "sensation."

It is not known whether the BND acted on the information it had in 1952. But assuming the service wasn't incompetent and didn't botch the search for Eichmann, the most likely explanation for the failure to arrest him was a lack of political will in West Germany to put him on trial, she said.