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Thu, 30 Nov 2023
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CNN investigation: Obama born in U.S.

Was Barack Obama really born in America?

A new CNN investigation reveals what most analysts have been saying since the "birther" controversy erupted during the 2008 presidential campaign: Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Period.

While the president has made light of the controversy, the question remains political red meat for some of his critics. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll showed that nearly 75% of Americans believe Obama was definitely or probably born in the United States. More than four in 10 Republicans, however, believe he probably or definitely was not born in America.


How Can You Tell Someone Is al-Qaida? Look at His Watch

© Shiho Fukada/Associated Press
The U.S. military says Casio F-91W watches like this one have been used in terrorist bombings by members of al-Qaida, according to Guantanamo Bay files released by WikiLeaks.
It's a simple, water-resistant digital watch that retails for about $11. But beware: It could sell you out as al-Qaida.

A new batch of WikiLeaks files from Guantanamo Bay reveals a secret checklist U.S. investigators used to figure out whether detainees were really al-Qaida members. Among the criteria was the kind of wristwatch they were wearing.

The U.S. military lists the Casio F-91W model -- a cheap plastic watch available all over the world -- as a "suspicious item" on par with military transceivers, satellite phones, huge wads of cash and secret notes from al-Qaida facilitators. According to a confidential document distributed to American interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Casio model "is an indicator of al-Qaida training in the manufacture of improved explosive devices (IEDs)."

"The Casio was known to be given to the students at al-Qaida bomb-making training courses in Afghanistan, at which the students received instruction in the preparation of timing devices using the watch," the document states.

One-third of detainees captured while wearing the Casio watch "have known connections to explosives," it said.


Seven injured, rooms destroyed: Mysterious blasts rock police station in Pakistan

At least seven policemen were wounded, two of them seriously, in a series of mysterious blasts inside Gulbahar police station on the main G.T. Road here on Monday, police said.

They said that the explosions also destroyed two rooms on the first floor and smashed windowpanes of the entire building.

Capital City Police Officer Liaquat Ali later told media persons that according to preliminary investigation the explosions were caused by gas accumulated in a gutter or electricity short circuiting. However, he dispelled the impression that it was a sabotage act.

He claimed that the affected rooms were sealed at the time of explosions. One of the rooms was being used as a store for electrical gadgets, he said, but did not give details of the gadgets or the extent of damage.


Is YOUR child watching porn? The devastating effects of graphic images of sex on young minds

© Alamy
Every parents likes to think their children are not watching porn, but the reality is shocking
Studies show half of children over nine have seen graphic sex on the Internet

On a bed emblazoned with Hello Kitty images, 13-year-old Natasha poses for her best friend's mobile phone camera.

With one knee on the bed, and the other off, she raises her bottom in the air and looks around at the camera with a pout, set off by the red feather boa around her neck.

Natasha likes what she sees. You can't see her spots and her face looks thinner when she twists around.

So she posts it as her profile picture on Facebook, where more than a dozen of her 400 friends rush to post comments like 'Ooh, nice a***' and 'Sexeee!'.

And why should she see this as inappropriate when millions of adults project an ideal image of themselves on Facebook.

It's a statement of what we think is most important about us.

You have only to comb through the Facebook or Bebo profiles of a few of today's young girls, many of whom look like soft-porn stars in training, to witness how many want to be seen as sexy.
Of course, what woman hasn't got a faintly embarrassing picture of herself getting ready for the school disco and posing as she tried to find what being 'sexy' looks like?

But the stakes today are much higher. According to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), the sexier girls look in their pictures the more likely they are to be targeted by adult predators.

The latest figures show the organisation received 6,291 reports from the public, website hosts and online moderators last year (until February 2010) - a rise of 880 on the previous year. Offences ranged from grooming children online to distributing images and sexual abuse.


Bill Gates owns $3.2 billion stake in CN as railway's largest shareholder

© The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes
A CN locomotive makes it's way through the CN Taschereau yard in Montreal, Saturday, Nov., 28, 2009. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has become the largest shareholder of Canadian National Railway, with a $3.2-billion stake in Canada's largest rail company.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has become the largest shareholder of Canadian National Railway, with a $3.2-billion stake in Canada's largest rail company.

Montreal-based CN (TSX:CNR) says the world's second-wealthiest man owned or exercised control over 10.04 per cent of its shares as of Feb. 25.

Gates has been buying up the railway's stock since being identified as a shareholder in 2006.

He holds the 46.07 million shares through Cascade Investment and as co-trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, CN said in a proxy circular ahead of Wednesday's annual meeting in Toronto.


Ukraine marks Chernobyl anniversary, eyes Fukushima

© Reuters
A view shows a sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine
Ukraine marked the 25th anniversary on Tuesday of the world's worst nuclear accident at its Chernobyl power plant as Japan pressed on with efforts to control the crisis at its Fukushima plant.

On April 26 1986, the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl plant, then in the Soviet Union, exploded and caught fire after a safety test experiment went badly wrong.

The blast sent radiation billowing across Europe.

A total of 31 people died immediately but many more died of radiation-related sicknesses such as cancer, many of them in what is today Belarus.

Tens of thousands were evacuated, never to return, from Prypyat, the town closest to the site which then had a population of 50,000.

Last week the world community, spurred by the nuclear crisis at Japan's Fukushima plant, pledged 550 million euros ($780 million) to help build a new containment shell over the stricken reactor at the Chernobyl site to replace a makeshift one that has begun to leak radiation.

"Chernobyl was a challenge of planetary dimensions. The answer to this challenge can be provided only by the world community," Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said on Tuesday.

"For a long time, Ukraine was alone with this calamity, but happily we are not alone now," he said in a statement on the presidential website http://www.president.gov.ua

Yanukovich was to visit Chernobyl later on Tuesday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.

Chernobyl has remained the benchmark for nuclear accidents.

Though Chernobyl town itself was relatively untouched by the accident, Prypyat is now a ghost town at the center of a largely uninhabited exclusion zone with a radius of 30 km (19 miles).

On April 12 Japan raised the severity rating at its Fukishima plant to seven, the same level as that of Chernobyl.


Iran says it has detected second cyber attack

Iran has been targeted by a second computer virus in a "cyber war" waged by its enemies, its commander of civil defense said on Monday.

Gholamreza Jalali told the semi-official Mehr news agency that the new virus, called "Stars," was being investigated by experts.

"Fortunately, our young experts have been able to discover this virus and the Stars virus is now in the laboratory for more investigations," Jalali was quoted as saying. He did not specify the target of Stars or its intended impact.

"The particular characteristics of the Stars virus have been discovered," Jalali said. "The virus is congruous and harmonious with the (computer) system and in the initial phase it does minor damage and might be mistaken for some executive files of government organisations."

Jalali warned that the Stuxnet worm, discovered in computers at Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor last year, still posed a potential risk. Some experts described it as the world's first "guided cyber missile," aimed at Iran's atomic program.


The military's war on the Earth

© Unknown
Use as many low-energy lightbulbs as you like, turn down the thermostat and drive a hybrid car, but whatever you do as an individual -- indeed, the sum of what we all do for the environment --does almost nothing to alleviate the U.S. military's destruction of the earth.


In The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, Barry Sanders writes that like other capitalist institutions, "each military branch ... must grow larger and fatter each year; expansion is the life blood of imperialism." Further, Sanders asserts, "The military can brook limits of no kind whatsoever. ... The Pentagon conducts its business behind very thick and very closed doors. It writes its own rules and either follows them or violates them, depending on the situation."

Almost all "military numbers remain off of official reports, secret and out of sight." Sanders obtained the information he cites in the book by gleaning what he could from "arcane reports" and obscure Web sites belonging to the Department of Defense and Government Accounting Office, plus books and articles.


NewsPolitics'Don't say gay' bill advances in Tennessee, would ban teachers from discussing homosexuality

© Fuse/Getty
A Senate committee in Tennessee approved a bill that would ban teachers from discussing homosexuality to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

A Tennessee Senate committee has given the green light to a bill that would bar teachers from discussing homosexuality with elementary and middle school students.

The legislation, dubbed the "don't say gay" bill, states teachers cannot "provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality."

Republican Stacey Campfield, the bill's sponsor, has argued the move is "neutral," according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

"We should leave it to families to decide when it is appropriate to talk with children about sexuality - specifically before the eighth grade," he added.


Stress drives teachers out of schools

© David Levene/Guardian
Is teaching the most stressful profession?
Targets, bureaucracy and ballooning workloads make teachers increasingly anxious, delegates at NUT conference are told

Stress is driving increasing numbers of teachers out of the profession, with some even considering suicide, a teaching union conference heard on Monday.

Delegates at the National Union of Teachers conference in Harrogate heard there had been a "meteoric" rise in work-related stress due to demands to meet government targets.

Research by the Health and Safety Executive in 2000 found teaching to be the most stressful profession, with 41.5% of teachers reporting themselves as "highly stressed".

Sue McMahon, a delegate from Calderdale, West Yorkshire, said: "As a divisional secretary, I have seen a meteoric rise in work-related stress and on more than one occasion have had to support a member who has attempted suicide.