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Indian diplomat in US strip search saga: U.S. prosecutors again indict Indian diplomat Khobragade

A grand jury in New York has returned a new indictment against Indian diplomat Devyani
Devyani Khobragade
© REUTERS/Stringer
Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade (C) leaves with her father Uttam Khobragade (L) from the Maharashtra Sadan state guesthouse to meet India's Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in New Delhi January 11, 2014.
Khobragade for visa fraud, two days after a U.S. judge dismissed a similar indictment because she had diplomatic immunity.

Khobragade's arrest in December and a subsequent strip search drew outrage in India, causing a major diplomatic rift between the United States and India.

The United States granted her immunity and then essentially had her expelled from the country in a flurry of diplomatic maneuvers on January 9, the same day she was indicted for the first time.

"Unfortunately, I can have no comment at this stage," Khobragade's lawyer, Daniel Arshack, said in an email. "The government of India will respond in due course."

The new indictment effectively returns the case to where it was before Wednesday's dismissal.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled on Wednesday that Khobragade, who was India's deputy consul-general in New York, had diplomatic immunity when she sought on January 9 to dismiss the indictment, and thus could not be prosecuted for alleged underpayment of her nanny.


Cyber games continue as Ukrainian hacktivists take down NATO websites

© www.cyber-berkut.org
The hacktivist group calling itself CyberBerkut has claimed responsibility for taking down 3 NATO websites in a series of DDoS attacks. The group criticizes NATO for stirring up turmoil in Ukraine and helping the "Kiev junta" suppress freedom of speech.

CyberBerkut claims it brought down NATO's main website (nato.int), as well as the sites of the alliance's cyber defense center (ccdcoe.org) and NATO's Parliamentary Assembly (nato-pa.int).


Venice and surrounding Veneto prepare for referendum on secession from Italy‏

Around 3.8 million people in the Veneto are eligible to vote and campaigners hope to achieve a majority in favour of independence.
Voting will begin on Sunday in a referendum on whether Venice and its surrounding region should secede from the rest of Italy, in a bid to restore its 1,000-year history as a sovereign republic.

"La Serenissima" - or the Most Serene Republic of Venice - was an independent trading power for a millennium before the last doge, or leader, was deposed by Napoleon in 1797.


Northern Ireland's richest man, Lord Ballyedmond killed in helicopter crash

Northern Irish member of Britain's House of Lords Lord Ballyedmond has been killed in a helicopter crash in rural Norfolk, east of England.

On Friday, British police named Lord Ballyedmond as one of the four people who died in the chopper crash in the English county of Norfolk.

The helicopter came down in thick fog at the village of Gillingham, near Beccles on Thursday evening. The aircraft was reportedly travelling to Northern Ireland, and it crashed near a stately home owned by the Conservative peer.

Lord Ballyedmond, known as Northern Ireland's richest man, was the chair of Norbrook, the largest privately owned pharmaceutical company in the world.

"The helicopter has been confirmed as a civilian aircraft and the four occupants on board are thought to have died in the crash. Next of kin will be informed before further details of a deceased are released," a Norfolk Police spokesperson said.


French government bans GM maize MON 810

© AFP Photo / Yuri Cortez
France's agricultural ministry on Saturday banned the sale, use and cultivation of Monsanto's genetically modified maize MON 810, after France highest court twice previously struck down similar measures.

Currently the MON 810 is the only insect-resistant maize authorized in the EU. But France insists that GM crops pose significant environmental risks. The current socialist government of Francoise Hollande, like the conservative one before it, has opposed supporting GM crops in light of public suspicion and protests from environmentalists and farmers.

The decree by the agricultural ministry is timed to prevent farmers being able to sow GM maize before a draft law is debated on April 10, which will seek to permanently ban the planting of any genetically modified crops. Maize is sown in France in the second half of March.


Want to make a Libertarian's head explode? Talk about these 3 things

Libertarians tend to ride on theoretical unicorns that don't take them too far in the real world.

Libertarians are proponents of a philosophy that embraces free-market ideology, limited government, and a certain form of individual liberty. They would like to take the government and drown it in the proverbial bathtub. Unfortunately, libertarians tend to ride on theoretical unicorns that don't take them too far in the real world.

Next time you find yourself in the company of one of these quizzical beings, try bringing up one of the following topics and watch them start galloping off in 10 directions at once.

1. The inequality problem: Why do some people end up with most of the toys? The fact that in a capitalist system, money seems to flow into the hands of the few is a source of big headaches for many libertarians, though not all - some seem to regard any market outcome as the hand of God herself.

Irrefutably, America's income distribution has become ridiculous, ranked #4 in the world out of 141 countries for inequality, behind Russia, Ukraine and Lebanon, and this rattles many libertarians.

Libertarians usually start by insisting that how much money you have boils down to the choices you make as an individual. Bad, stupid choices = poverty. Good, smart choices = wealth (those clever Russian oligarchs!). Often the libertarian will rush to the defense of the rich. For example, we have W. Michael Cox, director of Southern Methodist University's Center for Global Markets and Freedom, offering this tidbit of wisdom recently on the Glenn Beck show:
"The truth is: If you look at almost all successful people in this country, from the time they were young they played with the right kids, studied in school, make good grades, get a job, get a lot of education, be productive at work everyday, save their money, start a business, hire people, invest - they made good choices."
The truth is actually this: Many a rich person gets wealthy just by being born to wealthy parents. Others get rich by ripping off other people. Bankers committed massive fraud on mortgage loans leading up to the financial crisis, and continue a crime spree which includes laundering money for terrorists and drug cartels, rate-rigging, manipulating the prices of commodities, taking bribes, engaging in insider trading, participating in ponzi schemes, cooking the books, and so on. Fraud has grown so pervasive in corporate America that legendary short seller Jim Chanos describes a culture in which executives think they have a fiduciary duty to cheat. The idea is that since everybody else is cheating, they owe it to shareholders to cheat in order to stay competitive!

Beyond the blatant crimes, bankers are engaging far more in reckless speculation that destabilizes the economy than doing useful things like lending money to people who need it. Put simply, they make a great deal of money looting the economy through cheating taxpayers and screwing customers with fees and tricks. Result: Bankers get very rich, while the rest of us get poorer.


Belgian deputy reports situation in Crimea calm, not as it being pictured abroad

© Flickr.com/ BiLK_Thorn /cc-by-nc-sa 3.0
The situation in Crimea is calm, Deputy of the Belgian parliament Frank Creelman, who arrived to monitor the referendum to be held on March 16, said on Saturday.

The situation is quite normal and calm, there are many pro-Russian people among residents and many law enforcement officers are at streets, Creelman said.

Nevertheless, everything is very calm and absolutely not the way it is being pictures abroad, he said. Creelman said he intended to monitor the referendum on the status of Crimea not just in Simferopol but in relatively small Crimean settlements as well.

The Belgian politician said that, of course, he would observe the referendum in Simferopol but would also go to smaller towns in order to monitor the transparency of the referendum there as well.


Missing airliner may have flown on for 7 hours after "disappearing"‏

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday that a missing passenger jet was steered off course after its communications systems were intentionally dismantled and could have potentially flown on for seven additional hours.

In the most comprehensive account to date of the plane's fate, Najib drew an ominous picture of what happened aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, saying investigators had determined there was "deliberate action by someone on the plane."


Oops: Retards onboard British Navy warship accidentally fires torpedo into nuclear dockyard

A Plymouth warship fired a torpedo towards a bridge in a training blunder at Devonport Naval Base. Military chiefs have admitted that a training torpedo was fired by error by HMS Argyll on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 12. Military chiefs launched a major investigation yesterday after a Royal Navy warship accidentally fired a torpedo at a nuclear dockyard.

Workers watched in disbelief as the tube-shaped projectile flew 200 yards through the air before blasting a hole in a security fence and slamming into a storage container.

The torpedo was an unarmed version used for testing drills so it merely thudded into the metal container and did not explode.

Nobody was hurt but shocked Navy bosses ordered an urgent investigation into the incident that took place inside a high security area where Britain's nuclear submarines are refuelled and repaired.


UK's great World War Two general accused of molesting children 'as they sat in his Rolls-Royce'‏

Viscount Slim
© Unknown
Viscount Slim
A decorated military commander, hailed as one of Britain's greatest, has been accused of molesting children while serving as the Queen's representative in Australia.

Field Marshal William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim, has been accused of abusing the youngsters who attended a school for underprivileged children.

Victims in Australia have come forward, claiming they were abused by the First and Second World War veteran, who died in 1970 at the age of 79.

The Telegraph reported Bob Stevens, has filed a lawsuit against Fairbridge Farm, a school near Pinjarra in south western Australia.

Mr Stevens claims Viscount Slim would arrive at the school in his Rolls Royce and 'the next minute we were sitting on his knee and he's got his hands up our trousers'.

The majority of pupils at the school were British migrants. Mr Stevens was sent to Fairbridge from England at the age of eight.