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For life, liberty and the burqa: Muslim women defy France's ban on full-face veils

  • French ban on full-face veils starts today
  • Risk of fine if women refuse to show faces
  • Muslims women say they are not oppressed
  • Libs back minister who called burqa alien

They are the women prepared to defy France for the burqa.

Family

US: Thousands rally in Chicago to support union movement

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Thousands of Illinois public service workers on Saturday rallied in downtown Chicago to support the union employees in Wisconsin and other states where the government have proposed limiting workers' collective bargaining rights.

The demonstrators, including teachers, painters, carpenters and other public workers, carried signs "We are one," showing support to movements organized by labor unions.

The rally is the latest of a wave of protests against the state government's proposal to force state employees to contribute more to their health-care and pension costs and give up their collective bargaining rights.

Book

Finkelstein counters Goldstone retraction

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The old Richard Goldstone found evidence that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza; the new Richard Goldstone suggests it didn't. Here's the evidence. Decide for yourself where is the truth.

An expanded and revised edition of Norman Finkelstein's This Time We Went Too Far, releasing later this month, refutes Richard Goldstone's recent recantation of his report on Gaza.

This significantly revised and expanded edition is the only comprehensive book-length study of the 2008-2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza and its consequences. It is based on thousands of passages of human rights reports as well as the statements of Israeli soldiers and Israeli officials. It covers the full documentary record - including all the official Israeli reports and investigations - right up until Dec. 31, 2010. In light of Richard Goldstone's recent recantation of the report he authored on the Gaza invasion, Finkelstein's book provides a unique vantage point for judging whether the original report, or Goldstone's current position, is more credible.

People

Letter to the Ruling Class

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You control our world. You've poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You've liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You've stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You've profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You've monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit... we are bleeding... but we ain't got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution!

Sincerely,

The Serfs.

Che Guevara

Israeli Embassy in Cairo Under Siege

"Just when the Palestinians in Gaza thought they were facing this new Israeli attacks alone and with their backs against the wall, they found out they forgot, over the years, that they had brothers in Egypt who are willing not only to accompany them in their struggle against Israel but to protect their backs as well"

Editor's notes: The western press and even Al Jazeera have failed to report today's demonstrations in Tahir Square, Cairo accurately. Thousands of Egyptians marched from the square to the Israeli Embassy, demanding that the current military government end diplomatic relations with Israel in wake of the recent assault on Gaza by the IDF.

Israel claims that a school bus was attacked with a mortar round this week and it was necessary for the army to respond with tanks, helicopters, rockets and a step-up of the nightly bombing campaign that has gone on for months.

Skeptics doubt Israel's claim of an attack from Gaza, citing Israel's propensity for fabricating threats and the bizarre choice of weapons. From an American intelligence source who has worked with Israel for decades:
Israel has been using the "mortar attack" story more and more. Any small explosive charge can be made to look like a mortar attack. even a hand grenade. You only need to throw a few shards of metal around, the cheapest and dirtiest "false flag" possible and Israel has done this dozens of times.

Hamas has mortars but they also have thousands of RPGs. That's the weapon used to go after a vehicle. Saying someone shot a mortar at a bus is simply idiotic. If Gaza has the weapons Israel claims, Russian Kornet and RPG 29s which are capable of destroying Israel's Merkava tanks quite readily, as Hizbollah proved, the "school bus" story is even more fictional.

Sherlock

US: Legend of the 'Zodiac' killer still going strong

Benicia -- -- Just inside Benicia's city limits, tucked in one of the winding coils of Lake Herman Road, is a small turnout that was once a scene of bloody carnage.

"Nothing has changed here," said Tom Voigt, founder of www.ZodiacKiller.com, as he surveyed the gravel floor, the pristine rolling hills and the shadowy face of Mt. Diablo across the fields and waterways.

It was in that picturesque turnout that the mysterious Zodiac killer -- perhaps Vallejo's most notorious son (if the unknown killer is actually a male) -- began a killing spree that gripped the Bay Area in fearful paranoia during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Attacks attributed to the elusive Zodiac killer spanned at least Solano, Napa and San Francisco counties. The alleged serial killer sent encrypted messages to several newspapers, including the Times-Herald.

By the time the high-profile case faded with the public hysteria, at least five people were killed and two wounded. Authorities remain perplexed at the mysterious killer's identity.

And it's that mystery that drives Voigt, 44, who was just 1 year old when the slayings began.

"God, I hope they ID him in my lifetime," said Voigt, standing just on the other side of barbed wire fence and a "No Trespassing" sign that has been graffitied with the Zodiac's infamous cross-hair symbol.

The case remains open in the Vallejo Police Department, which maintains an active Zodiac crime tips link on its website.

Attention

Australia: Doctors Like Dealers for Prescription Drug Addicts

Perth's black market in prescription drugs is booming and health professionals say they cannot control it.

With a single tablet of the powerful painkiller oxycodone selling on the street for $50, trade is thriving and doctors and pharmacists say they do not have the powers or the tools they need to identify dealers and addicts.

"Every doctor and every pharmacy in this State has stand-alone computers, but these computers don't talk to each other so there is no simple centralised record of who is getting what," Lenette Mullen, of the Pharmacy Guild of WA, said.

Without that information there is no way to stop doctor-shopping - where people visit a string of GPs and collect numerous prescriptions for powerful drugs.

Addiction specialist Dr George O'Neil says he is seeing more and more people addicted to prescription drugs.

"Prescription drug addicts use doctors and pharmacists in the same way as heroin addicts use street dealers," he said.

Figures from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme show nearly 134,000 scripts for oxycodone were dispensed in WA last year costing taxpayers $5.78 million.

No-one can say how many of these scripts ended up on the black market.

"Addicts get the same high from many prescription drugs as you get from heroin and we all know that doctors and pharmacists don't share their records - so doctor-shopping is a low-risk way of getting safe drugs," former drug addict and "doctor-shopper" Mike Desbouvrie said.

Megaphone

Fukushima governor slams TEPCO, govt for 'betrayal'

nuclear plant,japan

Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato has expressed anger at the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., saying both "betrayed" the people of Fukushima Prefecture with repeated assurances about the safety of nuclear power plants.

"We feel we were betrayed [by the central government and TEPCO]," Sato said during an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun on Thursday, nearly a month after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and the outbreak of a series of accidents at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant.

"The central government and TEPCO repeatedly told us, 'Nuclear power plants are safe because they've got multiple protection systems,' and, 'Earthquake-proof measures have been taken,'" Sato said.

People

17,500 Gather For Tokyo Rallies Against Nuclear Plants

anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo
© Reuters/Toru Hanai
Protesters take part in an anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo March 27, 2011. The sign on the left reads, "Change energy policy". The sign on the right reads, "Do not sprinkle radioactive material".
About 17,500 people gathered Sunday for two rallies held in Tokyo against nuclear power plants amid the prolonged crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station some 220 kilometers to the northeast.

Around the JR Koenji Station in Suginami Ward, some 15,000 people took part in a demonstration march organized by local shop owners and reported online as a call for joining the event had spread on Twitter, organizers said.

''I learned of the event on Twitter. Now is the time to stop nuclear plants,'' said Takashi Kamiyama, who took part with his 2- and 6-year-old children among participants. ''I want to do what I can do for these kids.''

As an organizer, Hajime Matsumoto said, ''It's epoch-making that so many people gathered without being mobilized by a large organization. It's become big power as we joined hands over the Internet.''

Family

Thousands gather in New York to protests endless wars

Thousands of Americans have staged a protest rally in New York City to voice concerns over US war and foreign policies as well as the economy and the persisting reduction of social programs.

Scores of peace, labor and community activists took to the streets of the major commercial city on Saturday to call for peace and solidarity with Muslims and an end to US wars abroad, a Press TV correspondent reported.

"I am sick and tired of the elite trying to rule the country, the elite that is only one percent (of the society), ruling the country and getting us into wars that we do not need. Not paying their fair share of taxes while we suffer cutbacks in social programs," a demonstrator said.

The protesters called on Washington to create more job opportunities in a bid to revive the fragile US economy.

More than 500 organizations also came together from communities across the US to call for an end to government harassment of Muslim immigrants and people of color.

They also called for the restoration of peace and democracy.