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Mon, 29 Nov 2021
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Thai, Cambodian forces exchange gunfire near ancient temple

Fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops flared again briefly on Saturday morning, after clashes over an ancient temple claimed by both countries erupted along the border on Friday.

A Thai Army spokesman said one soldier was killed in the latest round of gunfire, and four others were injured. That brings the weekend death toll to two people. Earlier, the country's health minister told the MCOT news agency that one Thai villager was killed by artillery shells fired by Cambodian troops.

Fighting took place on Friday and Saturday near the Preah Vihear temple, an 11th century structure which straddles the boundary between Cambodia and Thailand. The building itself sits on a cliff in Cambodian territory, but the most accessible entrance to the site is on the Thai side.

State media for both countries confirm that there was an exchange of gunfire and artillery on Friday afternoon for about two hours. Both sides are pointing the finger at the other over who fired the first shots.

Footprints

Guardian's Moscow correspondent expelled from Russia

Luke Harding's removal thought to be the first of a British staff journalist from the country since end of cold war.
Image
© Fedor Savintsev/the Guardian
Luke Harding, the Guardian's Moscow correspondent, has been expelled from Russia.

The Guardian's Moscow correspondent has been expelled from Russia, in what is believed to be the first removal of a British staff journalist from the country since the end of the cold war.

Luke Harding's forced departure comes after the newspaper's reporting of the WikiLeaks cables, where he reported on allegations that Russia under the rule of Vladimir Putin had become a "virtual mafia state".

The journalist flew back to Moscow at the weekend after a two-month stint reporting on the contents of the leaked US diplomatic cables from London, but was refused entry when his passport was checked on his arrival.

After spending 45 minutes in an airport cell, he was sent back to the UK on the first available plane - with his visa annulled and his passport only returned to him after taking his seat. Harding was given no specific reason for the decision, although an airport security official working for the Federal Border Service, an arm of the FSB intelligence agency, told him: "For you Russia is closed."

The tightly controlled nature of Russian politics means the expulsion is likely to have been ordered at a very senior level, but the British government has so far been unable to find out any more details about the decision.

Video

Khodorkovsky film vanishes again as director says: 'It's like a bad thriller'

Image
© Alexander Nemenov/AFP
The documentary, on Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky (above), was stolen for the first time a few weeks ago.
The final edit of a documentary about jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been stolen from the director's office in Berlin, just days before its world premiere.

In what police described as a "very professional break-in", four computers containing the last cut of the film, titled simply Khodorkovsky, were removed from Cyril Tuschi's premises.

The documentary was due to be premiered at the Berlin film festival next week.

Khodorkovsky, a fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was once his country's richest man but has been in jail on fraud charges since 2005 after falling foul of the Kremlin.

Although police have no leads in the case, there is suspicion that the theft is politically motivated and forms part of a Russian campaign against its critics.

"It's like being in a bad thriller," Tuschi told the Süddeutschezeitung. "Someone is trying to scare me and I must admit that they are succeeding."

This is the second time the film has been stolen. A few weeks ago, when Tuschi went to work on the final edit in Bali, his hotel room was broken into and his computer hard drive taken, according to his PR agency.

Display

Haredi Jews are told that Internet causes cancer

computer
© Unknown

New ultra-Orthodox marketing campaign uses scare tactics to prevent community from Web surfing. 'Internet causes disease, adversity,' Rabbi Shmuel Wosner writes

The Internet causes draught and terminal disease - so claims a new marketing campaign publicized in the ultra-Orthodox community and aims to curb use of the world wide web.

"Where there is Internet, there are no rains," read one of the posters that were pasted in central haredi spots. "Let's remove the idolatry from among us. Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients (suffer) because of the Internet."

Gear

By one measure, federal taxes lowest since 1950

Image
© Associated Press
President Barack Obama waves as he leaves the stage after speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Washington - Taxes too high?

Actually, as a share of the nation's economy, Uncle Sam's take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way.

And for the third straight year, American families and businesses will pay less in federal taxes than they did under former President George W. Bush, thanks to a weak economy and a growing number of tax breaks for the wealthy and poor alike.

Income tax payments this year will be nearly 13 percent lower than they were in 2008, the last full year of the Bush presidency. Corporate taxes will be lower by a third, according to projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The poor economy is largely to blame, with corporate profits down and unemployment up. But so is a tax code that grows each year with new deductions, credits and exemptions. The result is that families making as much as $50,000 can avoid paying federal income taxes, if they have at least two dependent children. Low-income families can actually make a profit from the income tax, and the wealthy can significantly cut their payments.

Vader

Egypt police kill three anti-Mubarak protesters in desert clashes

Three killed, several wounded in clashes between police and 3,000 protesters in western province of Egypt, which marked first sizeable anti-Mubarak gathering in the area.

Image
© AFP
Egyptian demonstrators use a shoe and a broom to hit a picture of President Hosni Mubarak during a protest at Tahrir Square in Cairo on January 30, 2011.

Three people were killed and several suffered gunshot wounds in clashes between security forces and about 3,000 protesters in a western province of Egypt, state TV and security sources said on Wednesday.

The clashes in New Valley, a province that includes an oasis in Egypt's western desert, erupted on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday, according to security sources. State TV said three people died in the fighting but did not provide further details.

It appeared to be the first serious clash between police and protesters since officers all but disappeared from Egyptian streets after they had beaten, teargassed and fired rubber bullets at protesters on Jan. 28, dubbed the "Day of Wrath".

MIB

Should spies spend more time on Twitter?

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© Unknown
London - With unrest and chaos apparently having taken Egypt's rulers and Western states by surprise, governments and spies are increasingly looking to social media like Twitter to detect political threats in advance.

Protesters who overthrew Tunisian President Ben Ali and brought revolution to the streets of Egypt used sites such as Twitter and Facebook to coordinate action. While few credit social media with causing the uprisings, the speed of instant communication it allows is believed to have accelerated events. The same was true for British student protests late last year and a broader, rising tide of anti-austerity actions.

With so much more human interaction taking place online, and Tunisia and Egypt proving online dissent can swiftly yield real world consequences, governing authorities are interested. "In any highly fluid situation, open source information derived from social media can provide very useful insights into where things might be headed," one U.S. official familiar with intelligence matters told Reuters.

Intelligence agencies have long focused attention on extremist websites to detect crime and militancy.

But the idea of having state spies, police and other authority figures watching mainstream Twitter and Facebook feeds closely for signs of dissent might make some people rather uneasy -- particularly in countries with a record of extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses.

Sun

Cancer: Mum who avoided Sun dies from skin Tumor

Image
© Unknown
Carmel Smith always wore sunscreen and insisted on sitting in the shade on ­holidays abroad.
A Young mum who never ­sunbathed has died after developing skin cancer.

Mother-of-two Carmel Smith always wore sunscreen cream in the sun and insisted on sitting in the shade on ­holidays abroad.

Doctors initially said she had a 99.9 per cent chance of survival but they were unable to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Now her devastated joiner husband Mal has urged anyone who fears they may have skin cancer to contact their ­doctor immediately.

Mrs Smith, 44, went to her doctor 18 months ago after noticing a mole on her stomach had changed colour.

Mr Smith, 54, of York, said: "She did the right thing and got it checked out straight away. If anyone has any doubt about a mole, get it checked."

Display

Generation Net: The Youngsters Who Prefer Their Virtual Lives to the Real World

girl @ computer
© Alamy
Different life: A study has found that children are often more happy with their lives online than they are with reality, as it allows them to be who they want.
Children are often happier with their online lives than they are with reality, a survey has revealed.

They say they can be exactly who they want to be - and as soon as something is no longer fun they can simply hit the quit button.

The study also shows that, despite concerns about online safety, one in eight young people is in contact with strangers when on the web and often lies about their appearance, age and background.

Researchers for children's charity Kidscape assessed the online activities of 2,300 11- to 18-year-olds from across the UK and found that 45 per cent said they were sometimes happier online than in their real lives.

The report - "Virtual Lives: It is more than a game, it is your life" - lays bare the attitudes of children today to the internet and includes revealing insights into how they feel when they are on the web.

One told researchers: 'It's easier to be who you want to be, because nobody knows you and if you don't like the situation you can just exit and it is over.'

Another said: 'You can say anything online. You can talk to people that you don't normally speak to and you can edit your pictures so you look better. It is as if you are a completely different person.'

One teenager admitted the only place he or she felt comfortable admitting they were gay was on anonymous internet forums.

Camera

The TSA Wants to Feel Up Your Mind

face illustration
© Gordon Studder
The feds' new airport security plan: porno-scanning your face to read your mind.

Update: Stranded travelers could face a new homeland security toy this week. On Tuesday, the Transportation Security Administration announced that it's begun "testing new software" on select airport body-scanning machines in Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Washington DC. The new imaging technology "auto-detects" suspicious material, boosting privacy by presenting potential threats on a generic human outline rather than a passenger-specific image. "If no potential threat items are detected, an 'OK' will appear on the monitor," notes the TSA press release.

If you're unhappy with the choice between having the Transportation Security Administration "porno-scanning" you or touching your junk, this might also freak you out: The TSA is trying to read your mind. Since June 2003, it's been monitoring travelers' facial expressions and body language for signs that they might be hiding something. As of March 2010, the TSA's Screening Passengers by Observational Techniques (SPOT) program had 3,000 "behavior detection officers" in more than 150 airports. Their job is to strike up conversations with passengers at security checkpoints, checking for what one TSA official describes as "behaviors that show you're trying to get away with something you shouldn't be doing." People who don't display "normal airport behavior" may be stopped for questioning.

SPOT is based largely on the work of Paul Ekman, a behavioral scientist who has spent his career identifying "microexpressions" - twitches lasting between one-fifteenth and one-twenty-fifth of a second that reveal intentionally concealed emotions. Ekman's methods have been used by the animators of Toy Story and Shrek and celebrated by Malcolm Gladwell, and they inspired the Fox TV series Lie To Me, whose main character is a human lie detector who thrives on confrontations with psychopaths and murderers. That's a far cry from Ekman himself, an unassuming 77-year-old who makes no claims of infallibility. "I'm never absolutely certain," he says, sitting in his San Francisco loft. "I can't tell you what triggers an emotion. I can only tell you to recognize an emotion even when someone doesn't want you to recognize it." Nonetheless, he says that had he been stationed at an airport security checkpoint on the morning of September 11, 2001, he probably could have plucked Mohamed Atta out of a crowd.