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Che Guevara

15,000 march in Dublin against 'austerity measures'


Anti-austerity protests in Dublin, Ireland
The Dublin government's fiscal 'kite flying' season is well and truly underway ahead of next month's annual 26-County Budget announcement.

Measures already signalled and likely to be included in the spending plans for 2013 are an annual property tax of around 300-500 euro per home, and a universal cut in child benefit.

Other elements being leaked by government officials include a hike in motor tax, a 'fat tax' or 'sugar tax', and an increase in the duty on the 'old reliables' - alcohol and cigarettes.

Unions on the wrong side?

Over 15,000 marched on Saturday in a demonstration against the government's unrelenting austerity measures, which once again look set to hit the most vulnerable the hardest.

Michael O'Reilly, president of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU), which co-organised the event, said it was just one step in a long campaign to reverse cutbacks.


Loyalist mob vents rage at Belfast City Hall in dispute over British flag


More than 1,000 Protestants had rallied outside as council members voted 29-21 to remove the Union Jack from the building for all but 17 designated days each year.
RUC/PSNI officers have been injured and the Alliance Party's office in Carrickfergus Co.Antrim, has been attacked and burned after trouble flared following a loyalist flag protest.

Two men and two women have been arrested following the violence.

Police said that about 1,500 people had gathered at the Irish Gate roundabout earlier on Wednesday.

They were protesting against Belfast City Council's decision to stop flying the union flag every day.

The crowd dispersed after baton rounds were fired by the RUC/PSNI but many of the lawless mob stayed behind which allowed trouble to break out and missiles, bottles and masonry were thrown at police.

The violence continued in nearby West Street, where Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has a constituency office.

It was ransacked and the rioters tried to set it on fire. The building has been smoke damaged.

Police have said a number of officers were injured in the riot.

Blue Planet

It's smart to take all date-specific predictions with a spoonful of cynicism: 2012 'End Times' prophecy corrected by Mayan priests

Ignore Second-Hand Information ... Hear the Real Prophecy

The Mayan 2012 end of the world "prophecy" is scaring the pants off numerous children and suicidal teeangers. 1-in-10 people believe that the Mayans have prophesied the end of the world (and see this). A Google search for "Maya 2012" currently brings up 325 million hits, only slightly less than a search for the most popular words.

This post is a public service announcement to reach children and adults scared about the Mayan prophecy ... to show with the Mayan priests' own words that the world will not end in 2012.

Many people are talking about the Mayan 2012 prophecy.

But few know what the Mayan priests actually said about 2012.

In reality, Mayan elders say something very different from what you might have heard.

For example, Wakatel Utiw - leader of the National Council of Elders Mayas, Xinca and Garifuna, Day Keeper of the Mayan Calendar, and 13th generation Quiche Mayan Spiritual Leader - says that the end of the Maya calendar has nothing to do with the end of the world.

Che Guevara

Turkish people continue protests against U.S. Patriot missile deployment along country's border with Syria

Large crowds of people in the Turkish capital city of Ankara took to the streets to show their anger at the possible deployment of the NATO Patriot missile batteries along their country's border with Syria.

During the rally organized by the Turkish Freedom and Solidarity Party on Sunday, protesters carried placards in condemnation of the Turkish government's demand for the deployment of the NATO Patriot missile systems, and called on their government to leave the organization and close all US and NATO bases on Turkish soil.

Also in the rally, one of the Freedom and Solidarity Party leaders reiterated that the deployment of NATO missiles indicates the Turkish government's hostile position on neighboring Syria.

She described the deployment of the missile systems as a "factor" which "jeopardizes the future of the Turkish nation," and stressed that her party and the Turkish nation oppose the measure.


3 dead, including gunman, in Oregon mall shooting

© The Associated Press/The Oregonian/Bruce Ely
Onlookers observe the scene outside Clackamas Town Center in Clackamas, Ore., where a shooting occurred Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012.
Portland, Oregon - A gunman opened fire in a suburban Portland shopping mall Tuesday, killing two people and wounding another as people were doing their Christmas shopping, authorities said.

Witnesses described a scene of chaos and disbelief as a gunman wearing some sort of camouflage outfit and what looked like a hockey mask fired rounds fire from a military-style rifle near the food court at Clackamas Town Center.

Parents with children joined other shoppers rushing to stores' backrooms for safety as teams of police officers began entering the mall to find the shooter.

Clackamas County sheriff's Lt. James Rhodes said later that the gunman was dead, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A shopper told KATU-TV he saw a man lying on the floor with a gun next to him.

Authorities went store-to-store to confirm that there was only one shooter and to escort hiding shoppers outside, Rhodes said.

Austin Patty, 20, who works at Macy's, said he saw a man in a white mask carrying a rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest.

He heard the gunman say, "I am the shooter," as if announcing himself, Patty said. He then fired several shots paced seconds apart.


Iraq war: U.S. soldier throws his medals and stars, "I'm no longer the monster I once was"

Jon Turner is a former Marine who fought with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines in Iraq and who testified at Winter Soldier March 13-16. This aired Monday March 17, 2008 on Democracy Now.

AMY GOODMAN: Iraq and Afghanistan veterans gathered in Maryland this past weekend to testify at Winter Soldier, an eyewitness indictment of atrocities committed by US troops during the ongoing occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War, the event was modeled after the historic 1971 Winter Soldier hearings held during the Vietnam War.

Over the weekend, war veterans spoke of free-fire zones, the shootings and beatings of innocent civilians, racism at the highest levels of the military, sexual harassment and assault within the military, and the torturing of prisoners.

Although Winter Soldier was held just outside the nation's capital, it was almost entirely ignored by the American corporate media. A search on the Lexis database found that no major television network or cable news network even mentioned Winter Soldier over the weekend, neither did the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times or most other major newspapers in the country. The editors of the Washington Post chose to cover Winter Soldier but placed the article in the local section.

On Friday, Democracy Now! broadcast from Winter Soldier. This week, we play excerpts from the proceedings. We begin with Jon Michael Turner, who fought with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines.

Star of David

The civilian toll of Israel's bombs

 Gaza Strip
© unknown
After an Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip
When Israeli bombs struck the Abu Khadra complex for civil administration, they also gutted the sixth floor of the Abu Shabaan complex, located 10 meters across the road. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), eight Israeli warplane-fired bombs leveled roughly half of the government compound in eastern Gaza City in the early hours of Nov. 21.

The bombings also took a considerable toll on the homes and businesses nearby, including the Gaza bureau of Al Jazeera.

Over 50 percent of the private medical center in the Abu Shabaan building was destroyed, says Dr. Naim Shariff, 42, owner of the Benoon In Vitro Fertilization clinic.

Two weeks after the bombing tore apart the sixth floor and ravaged the fifth floor, Shariff has re-paned the windows, ordered new specialized machinery, and re-opened for clients.

"The problem with replacing my machines and equipment is that most of it doesn't exist in Gaza. It takes months to arrive and costs more money than it would elsewhere," he says.

"What else can I do but start again? There's no insurance here for war damages."

Che Guevara

Stephen Crowder, Fox News' self-styled "brightest, funniest young Conservative mind", beaten up by Union members in Michigan

The Michigan House approved a second right-to-work bill on Tuesday that would cover all private employees, by a vote of 58-52.

Republicans have asked for a reconsideration of the votes, which means final passage on the private sector bill, SB 116, before it reaches the Michigan Governor's desk, will most likely be delayed till tomorrow.

Read More Here

Arrow Down

Mystical 'doomsday' mountain braces for Mayan apocalypse

Mount Rtanj
© Tamburix, distributed by Wikimedia under a Creative Commons license
The pyramidal peak of Mount Rtanj in Serbia.

What is it with mountains and the end of the world?

Last month, officials announced that a supposedly mystical mountain in France would be closed on Dec. 21 to prevent a flood of doomsday believers from coming to wait out the Mayan apocalypse. Now, a pyramid-shaped peak in Serbia is the site of similar frenzy, according to the Telegraph newspaper.

Bookings are pouring in for Dec. 21 at hotels around the mountain, the newspaper reported. That date is the day the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar completes a full cycle of creation, a fact that some believers have taken to herald an apocalypse.

In fact, everyone from NASA scientists to Maya scholars say that these beliefs are off-base. The Mayans never predicted that the end of their Long Count Calendar meant the end of the world, and there are no astronomical phenomenon headed our way that could possibly destroy the planet in less than two weeks.

Heart - Black

Atheists suffer worldwide persecution from religious and state officials, says study

Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.

The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that "unbelievers" in Islamic countries face the most severe - sometimes brutal - treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.

But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

The report, "Freedom of Thought 2012", said "there are laws that deny atheists' right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry."