Society's ChildS

Nuke

Japan's Nuclear Evacuees Denied Canadian Refuge

fukushima Radiation
© Toronto SunHigh levels of radiation around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant and ongoing leaks of radioactive material have caused Japanese nationals to seek refuge in Canada.
A Japanese woman who claimed exposure to radiation from damaged nuclear reactors has been denied refugee status in Canada almost one year after that nation was rocked by an earthquake and tsunami that left more than 100,000 people homeless.

The woman's identity has not been released by an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) since she's seeking asylum in this country. She is among several dozen Japanese nationals who filed refugee claims to stay in Canada following the disaster and is one of the first decisions to be reached by the IRB.

"The claimant feared risks of exposure to radiation," an IRB member said in a ruling. "She was not convinced by the Japanese government's assurances of safety from radiation."

The woman was one of hundreds of Japanese citizens who sought refuge in other countries following the March 11, 2011 catastrophe caused by a magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami that left more than 15,000 dead and nearly 3300 missing.

The acts of nature crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant, leading to core meltdowns at three of its six reactors, and ongoing leaks of radioactive material.

A board member ruled the claimant "feared being a victim of hazards that emanated from a combined natural and man-made disaster."

Handcuffs

Egypt trial on U.S. democracy activists set for February 26

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© unknown
An Egyptian court will start the trial on February 26 of activists from mostly American civil society groups accused of working illegally in Egypt, in a case which has strained U.S.-Egyptian ties.

A judicial source told Reuters that the 43 accused, including around 20 Americans, would go on trial next Sunday, charged with working in the country without proper legal registration.

The state new agency MENA said the hearing would take place at North Cairo Criminal Court.

Investigators swooped down on the offices of civil society groups on December 29, confiscating computers and other equipment and seizing cash and documents.

The American defendants have been banned from leaving Egypt and some have taken refuge in the U.S. embassy. Among those accused is Sam LaHood, Egypt director of the International Republican Institute and the son of the U.S. transportation secretary.

Heart - Black

LAUSD Supt. John Deasy addresses Miramonte sex-abuse allegations

LAUSD Supt. John Deasy
© Unknown
In the wake of teachers being charged with lewd acts with students, Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy has sought to reassure teachers and staff in a video address.

The two accused teachers at Miramonte Elementary School have been removed and face criminal charges.

In his four-minute address, Deasy said the rest of the staff at Miramonte, which had been temporarily relocated to the unopened Augustus Hawkins High School nearby, will have the opportunity to eventually return.
"The reason that I wanted to address you is because I know that the actions of the arrested teachers at Miramonte, and the other schools, do not reflect on you or your professionalism," Deasy said. "I want to say that again. Just because a few members have [allegedly] done terrible things, that are being dealt with appropriately by law enforcement officials, that does not reflect on the amazing teaching, leadership and classified staff that I see every day in LAUSD."

Che Guevara

US, Washington DC: Protesters in capital pledge to stay despite ban

Occupy DC demonstrator
© Reuters/Kevin LamarqueAn Occupy DC demonstrator packs up his camping gear, in compliance with new restrictions, at McPherson Square in Washington January 30, 2012.
Defiant anti-Wall Street protesters in Washington vowed to remain peacefully entrenched in two parks near the White House on Monday despite a police order to stop camping on federal land, raising the specter of possible confrontation.

The U.S. National Park Service, in its first challenge to the demonstrators, said last week it would start enforcing a ban at noon on Monday against camping in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, where protesters have camped out since October.

It ordered bedding and cooking equipment removed but said tents could remain as a protest symbol if flaps stayed open. While many protesters told Reuters they would comply with the order, blankets were still visible in some tents.

After a cursory inspection of the McPherson Square camp, police remained on the outskirts and no arrests had been reported by late afternoon. Protesters said police appeared hesitant to move in while television crews thronged the area.

While similar "Occupy" protests against social and economic inequality in other U.S. cities have been shut down by police, the demonstrations in the capital have survived an unusually warm winter and a permissive approach by federal authorities reluctant to provoke confrontation.

Attention

Best of the Web: Random Thoughts at the Dawn of the Year 2012

Jesus
© Wikimedia Commons

I thought I'd begin this rant by sharing some of my thoughts on the historical figure known as Jesus of Nazareth. I think we can all agree that, unlike some of the other subjects I have weighed in on in the past, this is one on which people do not tend to have strongly held points-of-view, so there is little chance that I will offend and alienate readers right off the bat.

So let's jump right into it then with observation #1: When the likely outcome of an unwed pregnancy is death by stoning, people can be really creative liars.

Nothing in the least bit controversial about that ... right? Let's move on then to observation #2: It is fully understandable why the lie was told, and even why many people in that era might have believed it; what is more difficult to understand is why tens of millions of people around the world still believe it 2,000 years later.

I doubt that I've lost anyone yet, so let's quickly move on to observation #3: Jesus was initially described as coming from a line of men who worked with their hands, which was later interpreted to mean that he was a carpenter. Given though that the primary building materials in the land of his birth were sand and rock, it is far more likely that Joseph and his sons were stone masons. Just saying ...

Observation #4: Jesus of Nazareth's real father was undoubtedly a Roman citizen. Some have speculated that he was the product of rape by one of the notoriously ruthless Roman storm-troopers, but his later actions suggest to this completely impartial observer that it was more likely a consensual coupling and that the father was someone of considerably more importance than a mere soldier.

Observation #5: Jesus was very likely a controlled Roman asset. Just as, nearly two thousand years later, the obviously controlled asset known as Jesse Jackson replaced the slain Martin Luther King, and the equally controlled asset known as Louis Farrakhan replaced the eliminated Malcolm X, so it was that Jesus was maneuvered into position to replace the executed John the Baptist, who had, I'm guessing, become a bit of a problem for the Roman overseers.

The message that the emergent messiah delivered to those living under the brutal hand of those Roman occupiers was, by any rational analysis, exactly the wrong one. It was a message brimming with advice about loving neighbors and turning cheeks ... a message that constantly reinforced the notion that it was better to be poor and oppressed than wealthy and powerful, for the poor, you see, were going to spend all eternity in the glorious 'Kingdom of Heaven,' while the rich were going to burn in the fires of Hell (unless they were somehow able to steer their camels through the eye of a needle, or something like that).

It was, in other words, a belief system seemingly designed specifically to suppress any thoughts of rebellion amongst the unwashed masses. And the beauty of it was that no one would find out if the fabled Kingdom of Heaven actually existed until it was too late for them to get a refund.

I know what you're thinking here: "But Dave, didn't the Romans execute Jesus, and do so in a horrifically brutal and sadistic manner - you know, like in that Mel Gibson torture-porn flick?"

Maybe they did and maybe they didn't. Even if they did, that would not necessarily prove that Jesus was not a covert Roman operative. Most all assets are expendable if they become more valuable dead than alive. And it's pretty clear that for the last couple thousand years, Jesus has proven his value as a dead martyr. But was he crucified? I tend to doubt that he was.

Comment: We like McGowan and his entertaining and informative dispatches, even if he knows very little about the creation of the Myth of Jesus and apparently has fallen prey to the illusion that any of it is actual history. He also seems to have missed the evidence pointing to the wholesale 'theft' of elections in the USA since JFK. In that respect, the problem is not just that the candidates are more or less chosen, but the eventual 'winner' is also chosen, via rigged electronic voting schemes. That's not to say that his Bush and Palin theory won't play out... sounds reasonable to us!


Newspaper

NBC's Pathological Game: "Fear Factory" Donkey Semen Controversy

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© NBC
Though Fear Factor has seen its fair share of controversy, NBC finally deemed a stunt un-airable.

TMZ reported that what would have been the Jan. 30 episode, entitled "Hee Haw! Hee Haw!," featured contestants being asked to drink a glass of donkey semen and a glass of donkey urine. The stunt was allegedly so extreme that NBC executives decided to pull it from the schedule just the day before it was scheduled to hit living rooms nationwide, according to TMZ.

Fear Factor host Joe Rogan hinted at the stunt months ago in an interview with The Huffington Post when asked why he said the reality show was going to be "bigger and crazier" this season:

Arrow Down

Mexican Prison Riot Leaves At Least 38 Dead

At least 38 inmates have been killed in a riot at a prison near the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, officials said Sunday.

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© Julio Cesar Aguilar/Agence France-PressePolice check taxis following an attack in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon State, Mexico on February 8.
The clashes broke out overnight between rival gangs at Apodoca prison, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Monterrey.

Families were gathering outside the institution, awaiting news of their loved ones.

"So far we have counted 38 dead," Jorge Domene, a spokesman for the state corrections' system, told AFP, adding that the situation inside the prison was now calm and that forensic teams were working to identify the bodies.

Riots are common in Mexico's notoriously overcrowded prisons. It was the second deadly such brawl in recent months near Monterrey after seven inmates died and 12 were injured in a clash in October at Cadereyta prison.

Alarm Clock

SOTT Focus: Important Information about the Sott.net Fundraiser

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Since we launched our fundraiser several days ago, we've received generally positive responses from most of our readers. There are, however, a significant number of people who appear not to have grasped precisely WHAT it is that SOTT.net is and does, what goes on behind the scenes, and what the main point to our research is. While SOTT.net is, on the face of it, a news and commentary website, readers need to be aware that it this is merely the public face of our research organization: Quantum Future Group, Inc. The true role that Sott.net plays is as the vehicle via which the results of our main projects research are distilled down and presented to our readers in the form of a daily picture of the world as it is and where it, and we as a species, are headed. This takes the form of the arrangement of articles, editorials and commentary that we publish every day, 365 days a year. There is also our forum where all the topics you see on SOTT.net are discussed and researched in much greater detail. In short, when you read an article or editorial or commentary on SOTT.net, you can be sure that the viewpoint or angle put forward is the result of rigorous research by highly qualified individuals and groups who hold the Truth above all other considerations.

Black Cat

Nepal Mob Burns "Witch" Alive in Horrifying Attack

A mob burned alive a 40-year-old woman on Friday after accusing her of casting black magic spells in a remote village in southern Nepal, police said.

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© Getty ImagesA woman collects flowers on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Hundreds of lower-caste women are thought to suffer abuse at the hands of 'witch hunters' every year in Nepal
Dengani Mahato died after she was severely beaten, doused in kerosene and set alight for allegedly practising witchcraft, Gopal Bhandari, a superintendent of police in Chitwan district, said.

"Nine people started to beat her after a local shaman pointed the finger at her over the death of a boy a year ago," the officer said. "They accused her of having hands in the death of the boy, who had drowned in a river."

Bhandari said the shaman and the nine locals suspected of taking part in the crime had been arrested on suspicion of murder.

"They poured kerosene and threw straw over her and then set fire to her. No one came to her rescue. By the time we heard about it, she had already died," he said.

Che Guevara

Thousands Rally in Gaza, West Bank for Hunger Striker

Several thousand Palestinians rallied in Gaza and the West Bank Friday in support of jailed Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan, who is on the 62nd day of a hunger strike to protest against his detention by Israel.
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© Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty ImagesKhader Adnan's face appears on posters during a protest in Gaza City.

"We are all Khader Adnan," chanted crowds gathered in the Gaza Strip, with activists from the main political parties joining forces in a rare display of Palestinian unity.

Adnan, 33, has been refusing to eat since mid-December following his arrest in the occupied West Bank. He is being held under so-called "administrative detention," which means Israel can detain him indefinitely without trial or charge.

The Islamic Jihad group, which advocates the destruction of the state of Israel, has said it will escalate violence if Adnan dies, following reports that his health was deteriorating.

"We will pursue our Jihad and resistance. We will sail in the sea of blood and martyrdom until we land on the shore of pride and dignity," top Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam said during a Friday sermon at Gaza's oldest al-Omari mosque.