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Fri, 01 Dec 2023
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UK: Major Strike Looms After Talks With Government Fail

A strike by hundreds of thousands of teachers, lecturers, civil servants and other public sector workers is set to go ahead on Thursday after negotiations failed.

Union leaders were unable to reach an agreement with the Government in a row over pensions and spending cuts.

Up to 750,000 workers will walk out for 24 hours, closing thousands of schools and colleges in England and Wales and disrupting Government departments, courts, driving tests and job centres.

The unions had called for a "serious response" from ministers but one leader said the discussions were a "farce".

See the full list of which unions are striking and when

Officials from the TUC and several trade unions met Cabinet Minister Francis Maude and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander - but the talks failed.

Further negotiations between the two sides are expected to take place in the coming weeks.

The ministers insisted the talks at the Cabinet Office in London had been "constructive".

The walkout is set to hit thousands of schools

Cell Phone

Bearded Mickey Mouse Cartoon Causes Stir in Egypt

© unknown
Egypt’s tycoon Naguib Sawiris is the executive chairman of Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) and a Founding Member of Al Masreyeen Al Ahrrar political party.
An Egyptian Christian telecom mogul has angered Islamic hard-liners by posting an online cartoon of Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie in a face veil.

The ultraconservative Islamists, known as Salafis, called the cartoon posted by Naguib Sawiris on Twitter a mockery of Islam. They launched an online campaign calling on Muslims in Egypt to boycott Sawiris' mobile phone company Mobinil. Shares of Mobilnil and Orascom Telecom, which Sawiris founded, both fell Monday on the Egyptian stock exchange.

Sawiris, who is also a politician, promotes a secular Egypt. He owns media companies and after Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, he launched a political party that calls for separation of state and religion.

After the cartoon posted a few days ago stirred complaints on Twitter, Sawiris tweeted an apology on Friday and claimed he was joking.

"I apologize for those who don't take this as a joke; I just thought it was a funny picture; no disrespect meant. I am sorry," he tweeted.

But new Facebook groups cropped and quickly gained more than 60,000 followers, calling for a boycott of his widely used cell phone company.

Named "We are joking Sawiris," the Facebook group said: "If you are really a Muslim, and you love your religion, boycott his projects. We have to cut out the tongue of any person who attacks our religion."


US: TSA OKs Asking Old Woman to Remove Diaper

© unknown
U.S. airport security agents did the right thing in making an elderly woman with cancer remove her adult diaper for a patdown, the overseeing agency said.

The Transportation Security Administration "cannot exempt any group from screening because we know from intelligence that there are terrorists out there that would then exploit that vulnerability," TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz told the Northwest Florida Daily News of Fort Walton Beach.

Jean Weber, of Destin, Fla., told the newspaper the humiliation her 95-year-old mother went through was "something I couldn't imagine happening on American soil."

She filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, and plans to file other complaints this week, she said.

Her mother, in the final stages of leukemia and wanting to fly to Michigan to be with family, was stopped in her wheelchair at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport's security checkpoint June 18, Weber said.


US: Muslim Woman Sues Abercrombie & Fitch Over Hijab

© The Associated Press / Eric Risberg
Hani Khan, a former stockroom worker for Abercrombie & Fitch Co. who was fired for refusing to remove her Muslim headscarf, listens to a question during a news conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 27, 2011. Khan is suing the clothing retailer in federal court, saying she was illegally fired after refusing to remove her hijab.
A former stockroom worker for Abercrombie & Fitch Co. sued the clothing retailer in federal court Monday, saying she was illegally fired after refusing to remove her Muslim headscarf while on the job.

Hani Khan said a manager at the company's Hollister Co. store at the Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo hired her while she was wearing her hijab. The manager said it was OK to wear it as long as it was in company colors, Khan said.

Four months later, the 20-year-old says a district manager and human resources manager asked if she could remove the hijab while working, and she was suspended and then fired for refusing to do so.

It's the latest employment discrimination charge against the company's so-called "look policy," which critics say means images of mostly white, young, athletic-looking people. The New Albany, Ohio-based company has said it does not tolerate discrimination.

Still, Abercrombie has been the target of numerous discrimination lawsuits, including a federal class action brought by black, Hispanic and Asian employees and job applicants that was settled for $40 million in 2004. The company admitted no wrongdoing, though it was forced to implement new programs and policies to increase diversity.


US: Prep School Teacher Busted for Kiddie Porn Stash Begs for Mercy, Gets 6.5 Years in Jail

© Jefferson Siegel for News
Jefferson Siegel for News
John Thomas, who was caught with over 9,000 pieces of kiddie porn, leaves Manhattan Federal Court after being sentenced.
A prep school teacher who downloaded thousands of kiddie porn images pleaded for leniency Monday because he was "no monster" -- but a judge sentenced him to 6½ years in jail.

As his mother and sister looked on, John Thomas, 28, told a Manhattan federal judge he'd never been in trouble and even read a letter one of his grade-school students wrote him.

The judge said he was only fooling himself.

"You were a monster, it's just that you were successful in hiding it," Judge Kevin Duffy said, noting that no parent would let Thomas teach their child if they had known the truth about him.


US: Ohio woman sprays police with breast milk during dispute

A lactating Ohio woman was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after she sprayed sheriff's deputies with breast milk as they tried to remove her from a vehicle, police said on Monday.

Stephanie Robinette, 30, was arrested and charged with domestic violence and assault linked to a domestic dispute, as well as resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, the Delaware County Sheriff's Office said on Monday.

It said Robinette's husband told authorities the pair had been attending a wedding when his wife got drunk and started a dispute. He said that she hit him multiple times before locking herself in her car outside a banquet facility on Saturday.

Sheriff Walter L. Davis III said that when police approached the car to speak to her, she yelled profanities and refused to get out.


Jury Convicts Ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich of Trying to Sell Obama's Old Senate Seat

© John Gress/Getty Images
 Rod Blagojevich was convicted of a wide range of corruption charges, including the incendiary allegation that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
Chicago - Rod Blagojevich, who won two terms as Illinois governor before scandal made him a national punch line, was convicted Monday of a wide range of corruption charges, including trying to sell President Barack Obama's Senate seat.

The verdict, coming after his first trial ended last year with the jury deadlocked on most charges, was a bitter defeat for Blagojevich, who spent 2½ years professing his innocence on reality TV shows and later on the witness stand. His defense team insisted that hours of FBI wiretap recordings were just the ramblings of a politician who liked to think out loud.

Blagojevich becomes the second straight Illinois governor convicted of corruption. His predecessor, George Ryan, is now serving 6½ years in federal prison.

Bizarro Earth

Democracy Now! Exclusive Report from Greece as US Aid Ship Hopes to Sail With Gaza Flotilla

Up to 50 Americans are set to sail from a Greek port on a U.S.-flagged ship that is part of an international flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and letters of support for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian residents. Its fate is now in limbo under the weight of U.S.-Israeli pressure and Greece's economic turmoil. Israel insists it will enforce its blockade on Gaza, which it says is aimed at stopping weapons from reaching the Hamas government. "The Israelis have a right to interdict arms traffic. We are bearing letters," says Ray McGovern, former Senior CIA analyst and passenger on the U.S. aid ship. "How can these letters be considered a threat to security of Israel?" Democracy Now! producer Aaron Maté and Hany Massoud is in Athens to cover the journey of The Audacity of Hope, named after President Obama's best-selling book. He is the only journalist with the U.S. delegation, and files this exclusive report.

To download the podcast, read the transcript, and for all of Democracy Now!'s reports on the 2010 and 2011 humanitarian aid flotilla sailing for Gaza, visit http://www.democracynow.org/


Born to Breed: An Interview With Quiverfull Walkaway Vyckie Garrison

barbies quiverfull
© Unknown
An interview Sarah Jones conducted with Vyckie Garrison, a courageous woman who left the biblical patriarchal Quiverfull movement.

Sarah Jones: Can you define "Quiverfull movement" and what you've identified as the patriarchal beliefs behind it?

Vyckie Garrison: I like to define Quiverfull as a very powerful head trip. It's an all-encompassing vision of a big, happy family which infects the mind and affects every aspect of a Believer's life. The term "Quiverfull" comes from a reference in Psalm 127 which likens children to "arrows" in the hands of a mighty man, "blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them."

Quiverfull Believers eschew all forms of birth control in favor of "trusting the Lord" with their family planning. The Quiverfull ideal embraces a "biblical" model (read, fundamentalist) of the traditional family which insists that the husband is the head of the household and the wife is the submissive "helpmeet."

Sarah Jones: How do those beliefs manifest for wives and female children? Can you give us some examples of expectations of wives and daughters that might surprise our readers?

Vyckie Garrison: In practice, the Quiverfull ideals often result in larger-than-average families (think, Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar of TLCs 19 & Counting fame) in which the woman stays at home having babies, homeschooling, homesteading, dressing "modestly," and most importantly, serving and submitting to her "lord," i.e., her patriarchal husband.

The Quiverfull lifestyle is extremely demanding and the only way a woman can hope to succeed is to rely heavily on her older daughters. It is expected that a Quiverfull daughter will be fully capable of running the household, including all meal-preparation, laundry duties, child care and homeschooling of younger siblings by the age of twelve. Many girls are doing all this by the time they're eight or ten because their mothers are so consumed with birthing more and more "arrows" to fill the quivers of their husbands.

A Quiverfull daughter is taught from a young age that her purpose in life is to serve the man whom God has placed in authority over her. She serves her father while she lives at home (she does this primarily by assisting her mother in domestic duties and child care). She absolutely must remain a virgin and is taught to expect to meet and marry her future husband through a father-led match-making process called "courtship." Her education is geared toward developing domestic skills--college is generally considered unnecessary and even dangerous for her spiritual well-being.

Comment: For more background information on the insidious threat of the Dominionism movement see:

Hijacking The Holy - C Street, Dominionism and Sarah Palin

Behold a Palin Horse: The Pathocrats' New Agenda

Is Warped Christianity Threatening Our Democracy?

America's Dirty Secret: How a Psycho-Sexual Cult Holds America Prisoner


Supreme Court strikes California Law Banning Sale of Violent Video Games to Minors

© Stainless Games
The Death Race 2000-inspired car racing game, Carmageddon puts players behind the wheel of a vehicle bristling with weaponry where the aim is to run-down as many pedestrians as possible.
The Supreme Court on Monday ended its term by striking as unconstitutional California's attempt to ban the sale of violent video games to minors.

By a 7-2 vote, the court upheld a lower court's decision that California's attempt to impose a $1,000 fine on those who sell or rent violent video games to minors violated free speech rights. But there was more disagreement on the court than that tally would indicate.

Only four other justices joined in full Justice Antonin Scalia's soaring majority opinion that the First Amendment does not allow what he called "the latest in a long series of failed attempts to censor violent entertainment for minors."

"No doubt a state possesses legitimate power to protect children from harm," Scalia wrote in his 18-page opinion. "But that does not include a free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed."