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U.S. Professors and Activists Participate In Tehran University Conference On Occupy Wall Street

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© Memri- TV
U.S. academics participated in an Occupy Wall Street (OWS) conference held this month at Tehran University, in which, according to Iran's Press TV, "university professors and scholars from around the world discussed various aspects of [the] Occupy Wall Street Movement" and "talked about the nature of the people that take part in the Wall Street movement, what effects it has had up to now, and its future."

One academic, Prof. Alex Vitae of Brooklyn College, discussed the impact of OWS "locally and nationally" and pondered "whether or not this will have momentum that could have more far-reaching implications." Prof. Heather Gautney of Fordham University noted that the Occupy movement is "entering more into social institutions, and trying to pressure politicians or pressure leadership" and said that she thought "that the movement is going to be incredibly active in pressuring politicians to start addressing issues of social inequality." Both she and Vitae mentioned OWS's possible impact on the upcoming U.S. presidential elections.

Prof. John Hammond of City University of New York spoke of the future, mentioning a "big movement planned in New York City, called Occupy the Corporations," and demonstrations in Chicago in May where the G-8 summit is set to take place.

Document

Glen Glass Addresses TSA Pat-Down Searches In 4 Bills


US, Maryland- A lawmaker is hoping to force a change in the way passengers at BWI are screened by security.

As Mike Schuh reports, he's upset about the controversial pat-down searches.

At BWI, Judy Majorfox is at the beginning of her journey to California. First stop: Security.

Schuh: "If you had your druthers, would you have a pat-down or no pat-down?"
Majorfox: "No pat-down."

Yes, she wants a safe plane...and security to keep their hands off.

"Well, you know there's machinery now that can do that for you," Majorfox said.

Evil Rays

Best of the Web: More Women Speaking Out About Humiliating Experiences With TSA

tsa,woman
© Unknown
Would you want your wife or daughter viewed naked in "pornoscanner"?

US - Is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) forcing women to endure full-body scans so that voyeuristic security officials can sneak a peek at their physiques? That's the charge being made by a local news affiliate in Dallas, which recently discovered a shocking pattern of abuse after reviewing complaints from more than 500 travelers.

According to an investigative report, one Dallas resident traveling out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was forced to undergo three scans before being allowed to board. The passenger, Ellen Terrell, told a local CBS news reporter that a female TSA screener asked her, "Do you play tennis?" When Mrs. Terrell asked, "Why?" the agent replied, "You just have such a cute figure."

After making Terrell go through the scanner twice, the TSA screener spoke into her microphone and was overheard saying: "Come on guys. All right, all right, one more time."

2 + 2 = 4

Teacher Fired After Assigning Violent Math Problems to Third Graders


US - A Washington, D.C., charter school teacher has been fired after it was discovered the teacher had assigned third-grade students a number of math problems framed around violent and illegal scenarios.

At first, the unnamed teacher at the Trinidad Center City School claimed he had been ordered to assign the problems, but it was quickly discovered that the teacher had actually downloaded them from a free homeschooling website called "HomeschoolingParadise.com."

"I was absolutely distressed," Dr. Beverley Wheeler, the CEO of Center City PCS, which oversees Trinidad, told WUSA9. "It doesn't follow anything we do. We are about character, excellence and service and I found them to be violent and racist."

Even more baffling, other parents at the school say the teacher in question is a minister.

Nuke

Massive smoke between Japan's Fukushima reactor 2 and 3

On 2/28/2012, smoke was observed from between reactor 2 and 3.

It was from 10:52 ~ 11:58. The smoke reached over the reactor buildings.


Bomb

Funding Terrorism: Qatar to offer £63m to buy weapons for the syrian Rebels

Sheikh Hamad
© Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty ImagesSheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, last year pushed for the Arab League to suspend Syria.
On Monday, Qatar's prime minister declared his state's intent to start helping the Syrian opposition "by all means", including giving them weapons. Two days later, anti-Assad officials received an offer of a $100m (£63m) donation, from their brothers in arms in Libya. Coincidence? Unlikely, if the Libyan revolution is any indicator.

The third act, in what looks very much like the beginning of a concerted push to arm the Syrian insurgency, took place today when the previously gun-shy Syrian National Council formed a military council, which it says will act as a clearing house for anyone offering it arms.

Two probabilities have quickly emerged: the first is that a militarised Syrian National Council is unlikely to be short of suppliers. And, second, Libya is merely a conduit for the $100m, which was at least partly funded by Qatar to get things rolling.

Libya's national transitional council has been quick to stress that the money it is sending is for humanitarian aid, which is clearly desperately needed in western Syria, withering under a regime offensive. No one in the nascent Tripoli government is quibbling about where the cash comes from. When asked yesterday how a state still in turmoil could afford such a generous gift, an spokesman for the Libyan council replied simply: "It won't be a problem".

Handcuffs

Government plans for police privatisation

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© Press Association/Lewis WhyldStreet patrols could be handled by security firms under the government's police privatisation plans.
West Midlands and Surrey police offer £1.5bn contract under which private firms may investigate crime and detain suspects

Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and even detaining suspects under a radical privatisation plan being put forward by two of the largest police forces in the country.

West Midlands and Surrey have invited bids from G4S and other major security companies on behalf of all forces across England and Wales to take over the delivery of a wide range of services previously carried out by the police.

The contract is the largest on police privatisation so far, with a potential value of £1.5bn over seven years, rising to a possible £3.5bn depending on how many other forces get involved.

This scale dwarfs the recent £200m contract between Lincolnshire police and G4S, under which half the force's civilian staff are to join the private security company, which will also build and run a police station for the first time.

The home secretary, Theresa May, who has imposed a 20% cut in Whitehall grants on forces, has said frontline policing can be protected by using the private sector to transform services provided to the public, but this is the first clear indication of what that will mean in practice. May said on Thursday that she hoped the "business partnership" programme would be in place next spring.

House

Investors buying homes by the dozen

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© Rebecca Cook/ReutersInvestors are buying homes by the dozen in places such as Detroit, where the depressed housing market has homes going for $500 a pop in some cases.
When Vena Jones-Cox entered the foyer of the once-grand Colonial-style home in downtown Columbus, Ohio, she stepped onto a wood floor that was so moldy and mushy that it actually wiggled. As Cox proceeded down the basement stairs, they disappeared from underneath her.

"I found myself lying on the floor," says Jones-Cox, 45. "Staring at a dead rat, by the way."

The house tour from hell didn't stop her from making an offer on the place. While she was at it, she bid on some other houses, too. Forty nine houses, actually.

She's paying $3,000 for each, a bit more than the cost of an Apple Mac Pro. "We're at a bottom," says Jones-Cox. "I mean, where else is there to go but up?"

As the greatest real-estate fire sale in the history of the United States rages on, the bulk buy is the dead hot deal of the moment. In some of the most foreclosure-ravaged parts of the country, it is almost as if the housing market has become the new big box store, with investors wiping out whole shelves at a time.

Comment: In the original 'Great Depression' similar things happened and that is how many of the rich were able to cash in on the misery of those who'd lost everything. The statement "The idea is to arbitrage other people's misery" says a lot.

Arbitrage: Finance - the simultaneous purchase and sale of the same securities, commodities [houses], or foreign exchange in different markets to profit from unequal prices.

arbitrage
late 15th century from French. arbitrage, from arbitrer "to arbitrate, judge."


Wolf

Russia and the changing world

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© RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolsky
In the run-up to Russia's presidential elections, prime minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin has published his seventh article in which he defined Russia's niche in a "changing world."

In my articles I have already mentioned the key challenges that Russia is facing internationally today. Yet this subject deserves a more detailed discussion and not only because foreign policy is an integral part of any national strategy. External challenges and the changing world around us affect our economic, cultural, fiscal and investment policies.

Russia is a part of the big world, economically, culturally and in terms of information flow. We cannot be isolated, and we do not want to be isolated. We expect our openness will bring the people of Russia more prosperity and culture and will promote trust, an item that has been in short supply lately.

At the same time, everything we do will be based on our own interests and goals, not on decisions other countries impose on us. Russia is only treated with respect when it is strong and stands firm on its own two feet. Russia has practically always had the privilege of pursuing an independent foreign policy and this is how it will be in the future. Furthermore, I strongly believe that the only way to ensure global security is by doing it together with Russia, not by trying to "demote" it, weaken it geopolitically or undermine its defensive potential.

The goals of our foreign policy are strategic rather than short-term. They reflect Russia's unique role in international affairs, in history and in the development of civilization.

Mr. Potato

Video: Sarkozy, booed by protesters, hides in bar

Campaigning in Bayonne, a town in France's southwestern Basque region, President Nicolas Sarkozy was booed by hundreds of protesters. The French leader escaped to a café under the protection of riot police.

­The president was jeered as he got out of his car heading, to a bar to meet with voters. Protesters mobbed the president, threw eggs and cried insults at Sarkozy, causing him to seek refuge in Bar du Palais. The protesters are believed to be Basque separatists and opposition Socialist party loyalists.


Comment: Let's watch that in action-replay, this time from The Guardian: