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UK lord forced to apologize for flagrant misconduct: Lobbying parliamentarians on behalf of Cayman Islands

house of lords
© AFP Photo / Toby MelvilleHouse of Lords in London
Conservative peer, Lord Blencathra, has apologized to the House of Lords for signing a contract under which he agreed to lobby both Houses of Parliament on behalf of Cayman Island government officials. The lucrative contract generated £12,000 per month.

The Standards Commissioner for the House of Lords ruled on Monday Blencathra had breached the Code of Conduct by which he was bound, and ordered the former Tory chief whip to apologize.

The Conservative peer subsequently apologised on Thursday to the House for his "misjudgement", admitting his conduct was "wrong".

Blencathra who holds the position of director of the Cayman Islands Government Office in London, claims he had no intention of lobbying the UK Parliament despite the fact he signed a contract which obliged him to do so.

"I misled myself into thinking that, since it was understood that I would not be making representations in reality, then the wording did not matter," he said.

"But words do matter; I was wrong and I apologise to the House for that misjudgement," he concluded.

Comment: Might this be a strategy to fool the public into believing the UK government is 'cleaning up its act' and to stem the tide of public outrage over the pedophile scandals?

UK government ignored warnings about pedophiles: "There's too many of them"


Virginia congress introduces bill making retaliation against whistle-blowers a fireable offense

Sen. Claire McCaskill
© Lauren Victoria Burke/AP“Whistleblowers are critical to our efforts to guard against waste and misconduct in government -- and in the case of the VA, against the compromise of patient care,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo
Members of Congress want to fire more federal employees.

From tax delinquents to Veterans Affairs Department senior executives to workers who do not solve audited problems, lawmakers have made clear they think more feds deserve pink slips.

The latest measure, introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., would require VA to fire employees found guilty of retaliating against whistleblowers. Currently, retaliation is a fireable offense, though lesser punishments such as fines and reprimands are also acceptable responses.

"Whistleblowers are critical to our efforts to guard against waste and misconduct in government -- and in the case of the VA, against the compromise of patient care," said McCaskill, a consistent whistleblower champion. "This bill requires the firing of any VA employee found to have retaliated against a whistleblower -- no ifs, ands, or buts -- and I'm hopeful it will be a step in the right direction to change the culture of the VA and ensure our veterans are receiving the highest level of care."


15 Ukrainian border guards seek medical attention in Russia

ukraine border
© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov
Fifteen Ukrainian border guards have been taken to hospitals of the Russian city of Gukovo in the southern Rostov region, the spokesman of the regional branch of the Russian Border Guard Service told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

"Today, on July 16, at 16:00 Moscow time (12:00 UTC), servicemen of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service came from Ukraine's Krasny Partizan border checkpoint waving a white flag and asking to render medical assistance to them," Vasily Malayev said. "They all were taken to Gukovo's medical institutions and were provided with medical help."

Malayev said that, proceeding from the principles of humanism, Russia agreed to host the wounded and did everything possible to render urgent medical aid to them without delay.

Gift 2

World Cup winners donate their prize money to charities

Mesut Ozil
© AFP Photo / Fabrice CoffriniGermany's midfielder Mesut Ozil (C) celebrates with his medal after Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup final football match between Germany and Argentina 1-0 following extra-time at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 13, 2014.
The World Cup may be over for Germany and Argentina, but players on both teams are putting their cash winnings to good use by donating them to worthy causes.

According to the UK-based Express, 25-year-old German football star Mesut Ozil has donated his World Cup prize money - totaling more than $400,000 for winning the tournament - to various charity projects in Brazil. The hefty sum is reportedly going to fund surgeries for 23 Brazilian children.

Ozil made the announcement official on his Facebook page, where he wrote the following:

"Dear fans, prior to the #WorldCup I supported the surgery of eleven sick children. Since the victory of the #WorldCup is not only due to eleven players but to our whole team, I will now raise the number to 23. This is my personal thank-you for the hospitality of the people of Brazil."

The announcement comes after reports initially stated Ozil would be donating his winnings to the children of Gaza, a claim that was ultimately denied by the soccer player's representative Roland Eitel.

"The claim that Mesut donated money to Gaza is not true," Eitel told Express. "Maybe in the future, who knows? He donated money to causes in Brazil and he is now on holiday."

Comment: Ozil may not be donating money to Gaza, but Algeria is: Algeria team donating money earned at Brazil World Cup to people of Gaza


Donetsk and Lugansk militias force Kiev troops to retreat

donetsk fighters
Self-defense fighters in the southeast Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions have forced the Ukrainian military to retreat, the local news agency Novorossiya reported on its website on Thursday.

The Ukrainian troops have left their positions in the settlements of Sabovka, Govorukha, Roskoshnoye and Georgiyevka outside Luhansk and retreated to the west, the news agency said.

The militia has also established control over the settlement of Marinovka in the Donetsk Region. During the battle, the Ukrainian troops were surrounded by self-defense forces and had to retreat.

Troops of the Donetsk People's Republic opened fire from 120 mm mortars against the Ukrainian military's fortified positions in the area of the settlement of Mospino in the Donetsk Region, destroying a KAMAZ truck, an armored personnel carrier and an anti-tank system and killing and wounding about 50 personnel, self-defense militia reported.

Kiev has not yet commented on this information.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on Wednesday evening that fierce fighting was underway between self-defense militia and the Ukrainian military in the settlements of Amvrosiyevka, Marinovka and Izvarino in the Donetsk Region.

Comment: So the shootdown of MH17 came hot on the heels of this humiliating defeat for the Kiev forces. Coincidence?


Malaysian flight pilot diverted plane into danger zone, instructed to fly lower

mh17 flight path
Is this proof that MH17 change course into a war zone? A route map compiled by Twitter user Vagelis Karmiros using data from flight-tracking website Flightaware claims to show how the doomed Malaysia Airlines plane took a different flightpath to the ones taken by the previous ten MH17 flights
The pilot of MH17 radioed that he 'felt uncomfortable' about the route he was flying while over Ukraine and fatally altered his course to hostile territory, according to an expert.

Dr Igor Sutyagin, Research Fellow in Russian Studies from the Royal United Services Institute, believes that MH17 was shot down by rebels based in the 3rd District of Torez, in eastern Ukraine, after mistaking his plane for a government military transport aircraft.

He told MailOnline that information had been leaked from a source he was unwilling to name that the pilot of MH17 'felt bad' about his course over Ukrainian airspace, so changed direction.

Little did he know, according to Dr Sutyagin, that his plane would then be mistaken by rebels who brought it down using a ground-to-air Buk missile system. Malaysia Airlines today denied that the plane was told to alter its course.

His comments come as Vladimir Putin called for a ceasefire by pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces to allow for negotiations.

Dr Sutyagin's theory appears to be supported by a route map which shows the passenger plane travelling on a different course to the ones taken by the previous ten MH17 flights.


Putin calls for full investigation of Malaysian airliner tragedy in Ukraine

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash
© Reuters / Maxim ZmeyevAn armed pro-Russian separatist stands at a site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014.
The crash of a Malaysian Airlines plane in eastern Ukraine must be investigated thoroughly and objectively, Russian President Putin said in a statement. The tragedy underlines the urgent need for a peaceful resolution of the armed conflict in Ukraine.

Putin's statement came after he contacted Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to express condolences over the deaths of his fellow citizens in the disaster.

The majority of the passengers of the ill-fated flight, which was apparently shot down over the war zone in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, were from the Netherlands.

Earlier the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), a Russia-based international body tasked with investigation of all civil aircraft incidents in most former Soviet republics, including Ukraine, called for the formation of an international investigative group under the aegis of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN body, to investigate the incident.

The IAC said such a group should be handed over MH17 flight recorders, which are currently being recovered in Ukraine's Donetsk Region.

So far two flight recorders from the plane have been reportedly recovered in the region currently controlled by the militia forces. Some militia officials said they intended to hand them over to Moscow because they didn't trust Kiev to properly investigate the incident.

The probe into the loss of the Boeing-777 is bound to be a politically loaded one. There was no official confirmation that the plane was shot down rather than crashed from a different cause, but the parties involved are already trading blame for the tragedy.

Take 2

Online file sharing, pirating has minimal impact on motion picture industry

Internet pirates may have a new piece of evidence to rationalize their free downloading of movies. A study by University of Kansas Economist Koleman Strumpf shows that torrenting movies has a minimal impact on the motion picture industry.

That minimal impact: $200 million from 2003-2009.

Although a substantial amount when viewed without context, Strumpf told TorrentFreak that it amounts to "three tenths of a percent of what movies actually earned." That being said, the entertainment industry may be hard pressed to accept any loss to piracy.

The study used information from the Hollywood Stock Exchange, an online game that estimates the value of motion pictures, and data obtained from a BitTorrent tracker. Analyzing the research allowed Strumpf to reach the conclusion that pirating movies does not have a significant impact on profits during the first month of a film's release, and may also slightly raise the profits earned by the industry.

This latter point is a common argument among pirating enthusiasts, who often claim downloading movies and TV series acts as a form of promotion. The more people who torrent - the most popular way to download large files - a work, the theory goes, the more popular and buzz worthy it becomes, creating more profits than would occur otherwise.

Arrow Down

Connecticut man arrested for "passive aggressive" behavior to a watermelon

© Liberty Blitzkrieg
As is typically the case with posts on Liberty Blitzkrieg, the reason for highlighting this story is to see it in the context of other cultural trends happening within society.

One of my biggest themes in 2014 has to do with the aggressive manner in which "authorities" relentlessly pursue average citizens for the most insignificant of infractions, while the most dastardly and destructive of criminals (financial oligarchs and others) receive, at worst, a slap on the wrist. Some of the more egregious examples of this behavior can be found below:

New Jersey Threatens to Take 13-Year-Old Student From His Father Due to "Non-Conforming Behavior"

Hyper-Sensitive Illinois Mayor Orders Police Raid Over Parody Twitter Account

Charleston Man Receives $525 Federal Fine for Failing to Pay for a $0.89 Refill

The "War on Street Artists" - Puppeteer Unlawfully Arrested and Harassed in NYC Subway

Video of the Day - Thuggish Militarized Police Terrorize and SWAT Team Iowa Family

Arrow Down

Florida city imposes fines and jailtime for violating dress code on public property

Dress Code
© Reuters/Lucas JacksonA suspected pants sagger concealing his waistline.
Ocala - A city council has voted unanimously to impose a public dress code, enforceable by the police, and punishable by fines and up to 6 months in jail.

The 4-0 vote on July 15th officially created a new crime in the City of Ocala: wearing saggy pants. Councilwoman Mary Rich introduced it, as she did once before in 2009.

Individuals whose pants sag two (2) inches below the natural waistline may now be issued a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor. The punishment is fines of up to $500.00 or the possibility of jail time up to 180 days.

Officials lauded the new policy, citing it as "the right thing to do" and an improvement on "public decency." Others questioned how it could be enforced and what kind of confrontations it might create between police and citizens.

The dress code can be enforced on any property that is owned or leased by the city. That includes streets, sidewalks, parking lots, parks, sports & recreation facilities, swimming pools, municipal buildings, the downtown square, and public transportation.

City Attorney Patrick Gilligan could not definitively say how the law applies to bathing suits. "If that becomes a problem, we will start dealing with that," said Gilligan. "Right now, it's pants on men or women."