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Hondurans face big fines for smoking at home

Image
© Edgard Garrido / Reuters
A "No Smoking" sign at a shopping center in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Lighting up a cigarette at home could bring a visit from Honduran police if a family member or even a visitor complains about secondhand smoke.

A new law that took effect Monday banning smoking in most public and private spaces doesn't actually outlaw cigarettes inside homes, but it does have a provision allowing people to file complaints about secondhand smoke in homes.

Violations would bring a verbal warning on the first offense. After that could come arrest and a $311 fine - the equivalent of the monthly minimum wage in this Central American country.

Even some anti-smoking advocates suspect that part of the law may not work.

"It seems its intention is to educate by way of complaints, a move that I do not find very feasible," said Armando Peruga, a program manager at the World Health Organization's Tobacco-Free Initiative.

He did praise Honduras for adopting a broad anti-smoking law, noting it is only the 29th nation to adopt such a law out of WHO's 193 member states.

But Peruga said the clause allowing family members to call police on their smoker relatives is confusing. The clause "does not make much sense since the law clearly does not prohibit smoking at homes."

Che Guevara

Ivory Coast crisis intensifies as international banksters pull plug on economy

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© Emanuel Ekra/AP
Cocoa growers protest against the export ban imposed on Ivory Coast following the disputed election
Banks with half of civil servants' accounts close down and cocoa farmers burn crop in protest against Laurent Gbagbo

Ivory Coast's largest bank has shut down, joining other international banks pulling out as the country faces an international embargo over incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to concede that Alassane Ouattara won elections in November.

Hundreds of growers in what is the world's largest cocoa exporting country burned some sacks of their beans in symbolic protest, saying that the embargo was denying them their livelihood.

Together, the banks halting operations this week control more than half of Ivorian civil servants' accounts, and will prevent many receiving salaries. French bank Société Générale announced it was shutting its subsidiary SGBCI, after Britain's Standard Chartered, France's BNP-Paribas and America's Citibank said they were suspending operations, prompting lines of people outside branches trying to withdraw savings.

Che Guevara

Ivory Coast protesters killed as they call for president Laurent Gbagbo to step down

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© Stefan Meisel
Laurent Gbagbo (center)
Security forces react violently in support of loser of last election who will not cede power, as African leaders form a panel to try to broker peace

Ivorian troops have killed at least six protesters who were calling on Laurent Gbagbo to step down as leader, witnesses say, as African presidents charged with resolving Ivory Coast's crisis arrived in Abidjan.

A dispute over the presidential election in November paralysed the country and led to the deaths of about 300 people.

The election, meant to bring stability after a decade of economic and political stagnation in the world's biggest cocoa-producing country, instead left it as divided as ever and its economy in disarray.

Alassane Ouattara is recognised internationally as the victor, but Gbagbo has refused to cede power.

Attention

First Iranian ships cross Suez Canal

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An Iranian Alvand class frigate
Two Iranian warships have crossed the Suez Canal and are heading towards the Mediterranean Sea after Egypt issued authorization for the move.

The two Iranian vessels, Khark and Alvand, crossed the Suez Canal, a strategic international shipping route in Egypt, on Tuesday.

"They entered the canal at 5:45 a.m. (0335 GMT)," Reuters quoted an official of the canal as saying.

The 1,500-ton patrol frigate Alvand is armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, while the larger 33,000-ton supply vessel Khark has 250 crewmembers and can carry three helicopters.

A Lebanese security official, who asked not to be named, earlier said the passage of the two Iranian naval ships through the Suez Canal has been delayed due to stormy weather off Syrian and Lebanese coast.

Egypt's official news agency, MENA, reported on Friday that Cairo had "agreed to allow the two Iranian warships to transit the Suez Canal."

Laptop

US: Cyberstalking Isn't Free Speech

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© Matthew Forsythe
January 2011 seems to be the "hot" month for America showing its growing impatience with anonymous internet attacks and postings that can completely obliterate an unsuspecting person's life.

Otherwise known as cyber bullying, sometimes known as cyberstalking, it is an epidemic as at least 40% of our population has posted something at some time. "Google Yourself" is very virgin territory. What happens when you do and you see shocking things about you? Ask Gene Cooley, he did not even own a computer so it took a painfully long time for him to find out about the devastating remarks.

Read more at the website of the North County Gazette

Heart - Black

Latvian Moviegoer Shot, Killed In Popcorn Dispute

This is more sad than ridiculous. Call it sadly ridiculous.

The Guardian of London reports, with a clarification from The Register, that a man in Latvia was shot and killed in a Riga movie theater after a dispute over popcorn. The victim, a 43-year old man, accused a man of chewing his movie snack too loudly, the papers report, something the accused did not take kindly.

People

Libya: Point of no return

Muammar Gaddafi
© Reuters
Muammar Gaddafi in 1999.

Despotic regimes are falling like dominoes across the Middle East. But Libya's Muammar Gaddafi won't give up without a fight.

Now people are dying we've got nothing else to live for,'' wrote a student blogger in Libya. ''It's like a pressure cooker. People are boiling up inside. I'm not even afraid any more. Once I wouldn't have spoken at all by phone. Now I don't care.''

It is a sentiment that encapsulates so much of the extraordinary events sweeping the Middle East. As the revolt in Libya widens, and more Libyans summon up the courage to confront their ''Great Leader'', Muammar Gaddafi has launched by far the most uncompromising response of all the Arab leaders in the region to anti-government protests.

In neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia the military proved extremely reluctant to open fire on their own citizens, a factor that made a significant contribution to the subsequent removal of the countries' leaders.

Heart - Black

Gaddafi kills soldiers unwilling to shoot Libyan protesters, soldiers tied up and burned to death

More than 230 people have been killed in clashes in Libya as anti-government protesters rallied in Tripoli's streets, and tribal leaders spoke out against Gaddafi. Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi reportedly ordered the murder of his own soldiers, who were tied up & set on fire for refusing to kill their own people. Warning: The following video contains graphic images. Viewer discretion is advised.

Soldiers tied up and burned to death for not firing on protesters


Vader

'I'm HERE in Tripoli': Gaddafi's claim as he emerges to defy protesters while capital burns at the hands of his troops

  • Gaddafi had been reported to be heading for Venezuela
  • Fighter jets strafe civilians leaving 'many, many dead'
  • Libyan pilots fly to Malta after being ordered to bomb civilians
  • Around 450 dead after 'massacre' in Tripoli
  • Hillary Clinton calls for 'unacceptable bloodshed to end'
Colonel Gaddafi appeared on Libyan TV to insist he was still in country tonight as his bloody 41-year grip on power appeared to be nearing its end.

Tripoli is ablaze, there is anarchy on the streets and troops still loyal to the beleaguered dictator are reported to be shooting, bombing and strafing civilian demonstrators.

The navy is said to be shelling the city alongside indiscriminate bombing runs by fighter jets as Gaddafi ordered a vicious assault against his own people.

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'I'm staying': Colonel Gaddafi was interviewed sitting in the front seat of van. He insisted he was still in Tripoli

Bad Guys

Huffington's Plunder

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© Associated Press/Mark Lennihan
I was in New York City on Thursday night at the Brecht Forum to discuss with the photographer Eugene Richards his powerful new book War Is Personal when I was approached for an interview by a blogger for The Huffington Post. I had just finished speaking with another blogger who had recently graduated from UC Berkeley.

These encounters, which are frequent at public events, break my heart. I see myself in the older bloggers, many of whom worked for newspapers until they took buyouts or were laid off, as well as in the aspiring reporters. These men and women love the trade. They want to make a difference. They have the integrity not to sell themselves to public relations firms or corporate-funded propaganda outlets. And they keep at it, the way true artists, musicians or actors do, although there are dimmer and dimmer hopes of compensation. They are victims of a dying culture, one that no longer values the talents that would keep it healthy and humane. The corporate state remunerates corporate management and public relations. It lavishes money on the celebrities who provide the fodder for our national mini-dramas. But those who deal with the bedrock virtues of truth, justice and beauty, who seek not to entertain but to transform, are discarded. They must struggle on their own.