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Ireland's new government on a collision course with EU

Ireland's new government is headed for confrontation with Brussels after the country's ruling party was wiped out on Saturday by voters in a huge popular backlash against a European-IMF austerity program.

Exit polls and early tallies from Ireland's general election heralded political annihilation for Fianna Fail (FF), the party which has ruled Ireland for more than 60 years of the Irish Republic's eight decades of independence.

The unprecedented and historic defeat, Fianna Fail's worst result in 85 years, makes the Irish government the first eurozone administration to be punished by voters in the aftermath of the EU's debt crisis. Voter turn-out was exceptionally high at more than 70 per cent, indicating public anger at the government and the EU.

Late last year, Ireland was forced to accept a £72 billion EU-IMF bailout to cover huge public debts that were ran up to save failed Irish banks.

The bail-out was designed to prevent financial contagion that threatened the existence of the euro, but according to economic forecasts, the cost of servicing Irish bank debt and the EU-IMF bank loans will consume 85 per cent of Ireland's income tax revenue by 2012, a burden that a majority of voters find intolerable.

Brian Cowen, the Irish Prime Minister and Fianna Fail leader, who stood down last month rather than face furious voters, was also pressured into implementing a savage £13billion austerity programme of tax rises and spending cuts drawn up by the EU.


Handcuffs

Quebec Tourist Arrested After Giving Nazi Salute Before German Parliament

police guard germany
© The Associated Press / Michael Sohn
An armed police officer stands guard at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011.
European media reports say a Quebec tourist has been arrested in Berlin after making a Nazi salute in front of Germany's parliament.

Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reports a 30-year-old man from Quebec was standing on the steps of the Reichstag with his right arm raised in Hitler's infamous salute as his girlfriend photographed him.

The newspaper says police arrived within seconds, handcuffed the man and took the memory card of the camera.

Attention

Canada: Cult Leader Roch Theriault Killed in New Brunswick Prison

Roch Theriault
© The Canadian Press
Roch Theriault is shown in this 1981 file photo.

Warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers


A notorious cult leader and convicted killer has been found dead inside Westmorland correctional centre in Dorchester, New Brunswick.

Roch Theriault, 63, was involved in an altercation early Saturday morning, according to police.

According to investigators the death was a homicide.

Although a 59-year-old inmate, arrested in connection with the incident, was later released back into the prisoner population, RCMP say they expect that he will face charges shortly.

"The investigation is ongoing and to date no charges have been laid," said RCMP Sgt. Greg Lupson.

Theriault founded and led a notorious sect in the 1980s and was sentenced to life in prison in 1993 for the murder of Solange Boilard.

The charismatic cult leader had 22 children with women he held under his sway. Between 1977 and 1989 he was the head of a tiny religious group near Burnt River, Ont. During that time Theriault chopped off the hand of one of his concubines and killed another woman by disembowelling her during a cult ritual.

Eye 1

DNA "Genetic Patdown" Introduced to Airports by DHS

DNA Helix
© Unknown
NetBio -- Rapid DNA Analysis Solutions

A new level of invasive screening is scheduled for airports this summer: a portable DNA scanner to conduct on-site, real-time genetic testing.

This technology is being implemented under the cover of combating human trafficking, illegal immigration, and finding missing persons, but Richard Seldon of NetBio, creator of the scanners, clearly states that "DNA information has the potential to become part of the fabric of day-to-day life." In an interview with Katie Drummond who broke this story for The Daily, Seldon envisions additional applications in emergency rooms, food safety tests, and law enforcement.

DNA collection is actually nothing new, as the Pentagon has admitted that it currently has a DNA database with 80,000 suspected foreign terrorists on it, and growing daily. However, this collection apparatus has been secretly in place for Americans as well. Lawsuits are pending from families who uncovered a secret program to collect DNA from babies and store it in a military database. However, that was a secret that had to be uncovered. The fact that DNA screening is being rolled out openly marks a new level of blatant tyranny in America.

Che Guevara

Middle Eastern Uprising Spreads: Buildings on fire amid Oman clashes

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Anti-government protests in the Omani capital of Muscat
Following clashes between Omani security forces and anti-government protesters, a police station and a government building have been set on fire.

The confrontation erupted on Sunday in the northern industrial city of Sohar, where more than 2,000 demonstrators had taken to the streets, Reuters reported.

Two people have been killed and around five others injured. Omani forces say rubber bullets caused the deaths.

The protest came one day after Omani ruler Sultan Qaboos changed six ministers in his cabinet and raised stipends for university students in an attempt to prevent further protests in the tiny Persian Gulf country.

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters also held a rally in Oman's largest industrial city Sohar, demanding democracy and better living condition.

Heart

From New Zealand rubble, haunting texts to Mom beg for help

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© AFP

The first text message said: "Mommy, I got buried." About 40 minutes later: "Mommy, I can't move my right hand." Then, a brief call from New Zealand's earthquake rubble to parents in the Philippines pleading to send help.

After another harrowing hour in a crumpled building, when she sent a half-dozen more texts about increasing pain, continued shaking and overwhelming smoke, came the final one: "Please make it quick."

That was the last the Amantillo family heard from 23-year-old student Louise Amantillo, who is among dozens of foreigners missing after their language school disintegrated in Tuesday's collapse of the prominent CTV building in Christchurch.

MIB

'You made your bed, now sleep in it': Radiation alert after British-based Russian tycoon is hit by mystery illness

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© Associated Press
Health fears: Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky flew to Israel to see his personal doctors after falling ill at his British country estate
Police and radiation experts were alerted after controversial Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky was hit by a mystery illness at his £20 million country estate in Britain.

The 65-year-old billionaire felt so sick for a fortnight that it was feared he may have been the victim of a radioactive poisoning attack similar to that which killed his close friend, former Russian KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, in 2006.

Security aides to Mr Berezovsky - a bitter enemy of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin - called in forensic experts from the Health Protection Agency to screen his mansion at Weybridge, Surrey, and his other homes and offices last month.

Mr Berezovsky flew to Israel for a check-up by his personal doctors before being given the medical all-clear.

Traces of Polonium 210 were found at Mr Berezovsky's offices in Mayfair soon after the death of Mr Litvinenko, whose widow has accused Mr Putin and the Russian secret service of his murder.

He had met Mr Berezovsky at the offices not long before he died.

Mr Berezovsky made the news earlier this week after it was confirmed Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich lost an appeal against him by former business partner Mr Berezovsky.

Mr Abramovich had asked the Court of Appeal to overturn a ruling by High Court judge Mr Justice Colman who refused to strike out the action.

Comment: Read the following article to appreciate the irony. That's what happens when you sleep with snakes - you get bitten.


Newspaper

Fox News boss persuaded fellow executive to 'lie' to federal investigators

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Roger Ailes with Rupert Murdoch at a dinner party in Washington. Photograph: Rex Features

The chairman of the right-wing current affairs channel, Fox News, Roger Ailes, has been named in court documents as the previously anonymous executive who allegedly tried to persuade a fellow boss at News Corporation to lie to federal investigators over a crucial Washington appointment.

The New York Times reported court documents had become available that for the first time name Ailes as the mysterious executive involved in the allegations. The claims were initially made in November 2007 by Judith Regan, one of Rupert Murdoch's rising stars in News Corporation until she was dismissed the previous year in a row over her decision to publish a book with OJ Simpson.

In her unfair dismissal claim against her former employers, Regan claimed that a News Corporation senior executive had tried to secure her silence during the process to vet Bernard Kerik as the US head of homeland security. Regan had been having an affair with Kerik, and she alleged in her lawsuit that the unnamed executive had wanted her to keep quiet about it during the vetting procedure in order to protect Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who had appointed Kerik as New York police commissioner and was Kerik's main supporter. Giuliani was at the time considering a run for the White House in 2008 and the revelations could have rubbed off adversely on him.

Laptop

US: State Department tweaks China for making name of US ambassador 'disappear' from the Internet

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© The Associated Press / Charles Dharapak
In this Jan. 19, 2011 file photo, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is seen at the White House in Washington. The U.S. is tweaking China for its online blocking of the American ambassador's name. Searches Huntsman's name in Chinese on a popular microblogging site called Sina Weibo were met with a message Friday that said results were unavailable due to unspecified "laws, regulations and policies."
The U.S. is tweaking China for its online blocking of the American ambassador's name.

Searches for Ambassador Jon Huntsman's name in Chinese on a popular microblogging site called Sina Weibo were met with a message Friday that said results were unavailable due to unspecified "laws, regulations and policies."

Huntsman, a Republican, is leaving his post and is seen as a potential White House contender in 2012.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a Twitter posting Saturday that "it is remarkable" that even before Huntsman leaves Beijing, "China has made him disappear from the Internet."

Attention

Hosni Mubarak's Cronies Face Corruption Charges in Cairo Court

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© Ben Curtis/AP
In this photo from November 2010 an Egyptian man shouts in front of posters branding Ahmed Ezz a 'loser, loser, loser'. The Mubarak ally is in court on corruption charges
Three stalwarts of the deposed Egyptian president are greeted by angry crowd at courthouse

Three former stalwarts of Hosni Mubarak's regime have appeared in a Cairo court to face charges ranging from abuse of state power to squandering public wealth.

The trio - former housing minister Ahmed Maghrapi, former tourism minister Zuheir Garana and Ahmed Ezz, steel tycoon and one-time secretary general of Hosni Mubarak's NDP party - arrived in police cars clanging with the sound of pelted stones and got out at the courthouse to a chorus of deafening insults.

"Here are the thieves!" yelled some members of the angry crowd; "Liars! Dogs!" taunted others. Inside, the defendants, clad in plain white jail uniforms, were forced to stand in a metal cage.

Their appearance came after Egypt's ruling army generals widened their corruption investigations to include two dozen other former regime stalwarts, from prominent politicians to leading lights of the business world.

"The supreme council of the armed forces strongly believes that freedom and the rule of law, supporting values of equality, democracy, social justice and uprooting corruption are the basis of any ruling system in the world," said a military statement.

The armed forces are walking a tricky tightrope in post-Mubarak Egypt, trying to balance the generals' desire for stability with an explosion of ground-level political and economic expectations that has penetrated every corner of the country.

Critics of the military argue that stability is merely a byword for maintaining the status quo. The army's stance on the prosecution of Mubarak regime officials is seen as a litmus test for the generals' promises of reform.