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Irish Actor Liam Neeson Questions his Faith, Considers Converting to Islam

Irish actor Liam Neeson has revealed he is considering giving up on his Catholic faith and converting to Islam.

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The Hollywood star, 59, was recently filming in Turkish city Istanbul and became fascinated with the Muslim faith during his stay.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: "The Call to Prayer happens five times a day and for the first week it drives you crazy, and then it just gets into your spirit and it's the most beautiful, beautiful thing.

"There are 4,000 mosques in the city. Some are just stunning and it really makes me think about becoming a Muslim."

So he won't be copying Madonna and taking an interest in Kabbalah or following in Tom Cruise's footsteps and become a Scientologist?

Bad Guys

US: Police: Connecticut Ax Murderer Ate Victim's Eyeball, Brain

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© Bridgeport Police Department
Tyree Lincoln Smith, 35.
Police and U.S. Marshals in Florida have taken a former Bridgeport resident into custody on charges that he used an ax to kill a man, then ate a portion of his victim's brain and one of his eyeballs.

Brick Wall

Censored and Banned by Court! Dark Ages and Abuse of Children: "The Wall", A Documentary About Autism in France

The Regional Court of Lille released its verdict yesterday Thursday Jan. 26, 2012 under an emergency ruling.

The Wall is censored and banned. The court has ordered Sophie Robert to remove the speech of the three plaintiffs from her movie. Furthermore, the court orders Sophie Robert to withdraw her movie from the internet. Otherwise she will have to pay 100 EUR per day to the plaintiffs.

Sophie Robert and her sole-proprietorship company "Océan Invisible Productions" are sentenced pay to at least 40 000 EUROS in damages and lawyers fees to the plaintiffs.

Sophie Robert has decided to appeal. Yet, she has to pay immediately the amount due.

Watch the documentary here

Camera

Daddy Won't be Pleased... Hugo Chávez's Daughter Sparks Outrage in Venezuela After Posting Picture with U.S. Dollar Bills

For most Venezuelans, obtaining U.S. dollars in a tightly regulated economy is a nightmare.

But not for President Hugo Chavez's 14-year-old daughter, Rosines, who posted a picture of herself peering out from behind a wad of greenbacks.

The picture, posted on Instagram, a free photo-sharing app, triggered controversy in Venezuela this week after posting a picture of herself flaunting a fistful of dollars.
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© unknown
Chavez's daughter, Rosines, 14, posted a photo of herself holding a fistful of U.S. dollars, outraging her fellow Venezuelans

Vader

Why Did Harper Announce Canada's "Major Transformations" in a Foreign Country?

Stephen Harper
© The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers his address to business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Thursday January 26, 2012.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper used his speech at the World Economic Forum, Thursday, as a means to outline his government's plans in the month's to come.

As reported in the Globe and Mail, Harper vowed "major transformations" including a change on how Canadians finance their retirement. He will overhaul the immigration system. He will make oil and gas exports to Asia a "national priority" and aggressively pursue free trade in India and Europe.

While what he said was quite significant, it's where he said it that's leaving some scratching their heads.

NDP finance critic Peter Julian says that was very disrespectful to Canadians.

"(It's) particularly very disrespectful to Canadian seniors to roll out this type of speech among the world's billionaires in Davos rather than addressing us here as home," Julian told Yahoo! Canada News.

Attention

Amazon Seller Caught Bribing for Good Reviews

Bribery
© Minyanville
I love you, now pay me!

Man, what does it take to get a five-star review on Amazon anymore? Well, if you're selling a sub-five-star product, almost ten bucks. At least that's what it cost online retailer VIP Deals who paid customers of a protective leather case designed for the Kindle Fire.

The Vipertek brand premium slim black leather case folio cover was originally listed on Amazon by VIP Deals for $59.99. But a special offer on the merchant's page had the item marked down by over 80% -- for $9.99 plus shipping. And if you think that's a good deal, what would you say to a full 100% off?

That's precisely what people who took advantage of the sale were offered from VIP Deals when the Kindle Fire case arrived. Inside the package was a letter stating that the entire order would be refunded in exchange for a review on Amazon. While a positive review wasn't asked for explicitly, the letter offered a less than subtle nudge in that direction. "We strive to earn 100 percent perfect 'FIVE-STAR' scores from you!" the letter stated.

Of the 355 reviews written about the leather cover on Amazon last week, 310 were five-star and the remaining 45 were four-star. In a fit of honesty, one of the reviewers let slip out, "I would have done 4 stars instead of 5 without the deal."

Crusader

US: The Romney Family Converted Romney's Father-In-Law - After He Died

Mitt Romney
© Unknown

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a lot about the Mormon religion, but from what I do know, they are quite evangelical and why not? As religions go, they're new and that's how new religions grow, through recruitment. But when I read this story, I couldn't help but feel, well...creeped out.

From Gawker:
Ann Romney's Welsh-born father (Mitt's father-in-law who Mitt mentioned in last night's debate to shore up his pro-immigrant bona fides) was an engineer, inventor, and resolute atheist who disdained all organized religion and raised his children accordingly. Davies, his son Roderick told the Boston Globe in 2007, regarded the faithful as "weak in the knees." But when Mitt began seeing Davies' daughter Ann, the Romney family launched a concerted effort to convert not only Ann but her entire family to Mormonism. And they were wildly successful: Within a year of meeting Ann, Mitt and his father had converted all three of Edward Davies' children. Days before she died in 1993, Ann Romney's mother asked to be converted as well. Edward Davies was the only member of his clan whose soul the Romneys never claimed for their church.

Heart - Black

Spain's Unemployment Total Passes Five Million

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Spain's unemployment figure passed the five million mark in the last quarter of 2011, official figures show.
Spain's unemployment figure passed the five million mark in the last quarter of 2011, official figures show.

The National Statistics Institute said 5.3 million people were out of work at the end of December, up from 4.9 million in the third quarter.

The rate rose from 21.5% in the third quarter to 22.8% - the highest rate in nearly 17 years.

Spain already has the highest jobless rate in the 17-nation eurozone and is expected to slide back into recession.

The 22.8% rate is more than twice the average unemployment rate of the eurozone, which stood at 10.3% in November, according to data released earlier this month.

Attention

The Truth About Race & Religion in Politics

POTUS Speech
© White House Photo, Pete Souza
President Obama delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol.

The color of a candidate's skin failed to sway voters to depress the lever for either Obama or McCain in the 2008 election, immediate analyses of that contest seemed to suggest. Some pundits hailed it as the first postracial election.

But a closer look after the election has revealed a much more nuanced picture of that historic faceoff. It turns out that as many as a fifth of the voters cared about race more than other considerations like gender, endorsements by a local newspaper or a candidate's political party.

A study by political scientist Brian F. Schaffner at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the December issue of Political Psychology showed that concerns about race may have meant that Obama procured 3 percent less of the vote than he would have if he were white - enough to decide an election in a close race. "It's pretty clear that if Obama were white he would have done better than he did," Schaffner says.

His finding echoes the results of similar probings by other researchers into the 2008 statistics. Schaffner's work stands out, though, because of the care that he took in trying to figure out whether a voter was trying to mask biases about the hyper-sensitive issue of race. The researcher devised what he calls an "unobtrusive observational measure" to try to elicit a voter's real opinions.

Crusader

Vatican Whistle-Blower Begged to Continue Crusade Against Corruption

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© CNS
Archbishop Vigano, now apostolic nuncio to the US, apparently said there was a corruption problem at Vatican City in a letter to Benedict XVI
A senior Vatican official who was transferred after he exposed a web of corruption begged to be allowed to continue his crusade and denounced a "vulgar and insolent" cleric behind a plot to destroy him, according to a leaked letter on Friday.

The letter from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who is now the Vatican's ambassador to Washington, will increase consternation in the Vatican which has been put on the defensive by the growing scandal.

Vigano wrote on May 8, 2011, to Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone imploring "your eminence to radically change your opinion of me," according to the letter published by the Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano, one of two news organizations which have been leaked the correspondence

Vigano wrote that letter nearly two months after Bertone, the second-most powerful man in the Vatican after the pope, informed him that he was being removed from his position three years before the scheduled end of his tenure.

Letters broadcast on Wednesday by the investigative program The Untouchables on the private television La7 showed Vigano was transferred against his will after complaining to Bertone and Pope Benedict about corruption and mismanagement.