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Mon, 30 Jan 2023
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Murdered British businessman Neil Heywood 'was MI6 informant'

© REUTERS/China.org.cn
British businessman Neil Heywood poses for a photograph at a gallery in Beijing, in this handout picture dated April 12, 2011.
Neil Heywood, the 41-year-old British businessman who was murdered in China, had been providing information to the British secret service, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Heywood, who drove around Beijing with a "007″ licence plate, had been giving information to MI6 about top politician Bo Xilai for about a year before he died, according to the newspaper.

Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was sentenced to death for Heywood's murder in August, although her execution was suspended. Heywood's initial cause of death in November 2011 was listed as alcohol poisoning, but at her trial, Gu admitted to poisoning him.

Bo was the Communist Party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing and a leading contender for the leadership of China. His former police chief, Wang Lijun, has also been jailed over Heywood's death.

Black Cat

Mobster's murder may be start of bloody Mafia war in Montreal

© Postmedia news files
Legendary mobster Joe Di Maulo, left, who was murdered at the weekend.
Giuseppe "Joe" Di Maulo, a venerable lion of the Montreal Mafia, was an amazing acrobat, or so went an unkind joke among mob hangers-on, although usually said in whispers. It was not because of any prowess in gymnastics but his ability to be so flexible - his speed at flipping to support a winning side.

Mr. Di Maulo's ability to spot and back a winner may have backfired Sunday night when someone killed him outside his large home in a suburb of Montreal, on a street nestled in the woods of a well-manicured golf course, where almost every home has a swimming pool.

And while the death of Mr. Di Maulo, 70, ended the life of a legendary mobster, it is the prospect of his murder being the beginning of something more that most concerns police.

It is precisely one month since Vito Rizzuto, long the overlord of organized crime in Montreal, returned to Canada from a U.S. prison, where he served eight years for three racketeering murders.


Australia abandons Internet filter proposal after public outcry

Labor was forced to abandon its promised mandatory internet filter because it would never have worked and would not have got through parliament, opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull says.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has abandoned the proposed filter five years after it was promised by Labor, following an outcry from civil libertarians and technology businesses.

Senator Conroy had not reinvented himself as a libertarian, "he's just been obliged to recognise reality", Mr Turnbull said.

"It was always a bad idea," he told The Australian.

"It would never have been effective. It would have just given parents a false sense of security. There is no substitute for parents taking responsibility for their children.

"It's an overdue acknowledgment that they don't have the numbers in either house to get their legislation through."

Che Guevara

100,000 clash with police in Athens; Greece could descend into civil war, says analyst

Greece risks sliding into a civil war, unless officials in Athens follow Iceland's example and default on the country's loans, journalist Charlie McGrath told RT.

­Charlie McGrath from Wide Awake News says Greece needs to admit to bankruptcy and start fresh from scratch.

"The financial health is not going to change in the country until they realize that they are in default - that they are bankrupt - and tell the banks that are holding their debt, and the European Union and the ECB, that they're going to default," he stressed.

Che Guevara

Protests explode in Athens as Greek austerity measures passed

© Dimitri Messinis/AP
Whoa! A riot police officer engulfed in flames after protesters fight back outside parliament.
Petrol bombs thrown and teargas and water cannons used during protests as draconian cuts pass narrowly

It came after a night of rain, tear gas and clashes. But after four months of tortuous negotiations and a rancorous parliamentary debate, the Greek parliament finally announced late on Wednesday night that it had passed the most draconian package yet of austerity measures needed to keep Europe's weakest economy afloat.

Following heady scenes inside and outside the 300-seat house, 153 MPs supported the €13.5bn (£10.8bn) package in a vote that will be remembered as perhaps the most electrifying in the history of the three-year Greek debt crisis.

Approval of the spending cuts, tax rises and labour reforms was given with a weakened majority - seven rebels voted against the measures - but on trade markets around the world there were signs of relief. Mandarins in Brussels said the ballot would pave the way to the release of €31.5bn in EU and IMF sponsored rescue funds - desperately needed to keep bankruptcy at bay.

Heart - Black

Piedmont mom gets $2,500 ticket after son, 3, urinates in front yard

© 9 News
Dillan decided to be a big boy, stop what he was doing and pee in the yard so he wouldn't wet his pull-up.
Oklahoma - A 3 year old gets his mom in trouble with the law when he gets a ticket from police. Now the little boy's mother will have to pay thousands of dollars for what the toddler did in their own front yard.

Dillan is being potty trained. His mother says he wasn't playing outside and wasn't near the facilities, so he unzipped.

News 9 was told before he could pee, a Piedmont police officer stopped him. It's a bathroom break that cost mom $2,500.

"Dillan pulled down his pants to pee outside. I guess and the cop pulled up and asked for my license and told me he was going to give me a ticket for public urination," the boy's mother, Ashley Warden, said.

"I said really, he is 3 years old, and he said it doesn't matter," said Dillan's grandmother, Jennifer Warden. "[He said] It is public urination. I said we are on our property and he said it's in public view."

Cloud Lightning

Naomi Klein: Superstorm Sandy - a people's shock?

© AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
Rockaway resident Christine Walker walks along the beach under what is left of the boardwalk in the borough of Queens, New York, Monday, November 5, 2012, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Seizing the climate crisis to demand a truly populist agenda

Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers' resistance to big-box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Writing on Forbes.com, he explained that the city's refusal to embrace Walmart will likely make the recovery much harder: "Mom-and-pop stores simply can't do what big stores can in these circumstances," he wrote.

And the preemptive scapegoating didn't stop there. He also warned that if the pace of reconstruction turned out to be sluggish (as it so often is) then "pro-union rules such as the Davis-Bacon Act" would be to blame, a reference to the statute that requires workers on public-works projects to be paid not the minimum wage, but the prevailing wage in the region.

The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn't be public at all. Instead, cash-strapped governments should turn to "public private partnerships," known as "P3s." That means roads, bridges and tunnels being rebuilt by private companies, which, for instance, could install tolls and keep the profits.

Bizarro Earth

Protests intensify as Greek parliament prepares to vote on austerity package

© Reuters/Yorgos Karahalis
Protesters rally outside the parliament in Athens
Greece's coalition government hopes to overcome its own divisions and defy protesters' fury at parliament's gates on Wednesday to push through an austerity package needed to secure an injection of aid and avert bankruptcy.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to narrowly win support for the cocktail of budget cuts, tax hikes and labor reforms. The smallest party in his conservative-liberal coalition will oppose the measures, leaving him with a margin of just a handful of votes.

Tens of thousands of union workers plan to descend on the assembly in a second day of a nationwide strike that has brought most public transport to a halt and shut schools, banks and government offices.

Backed by the leftist opposition, unions say the measures will hit the poor and spare the wealthy, while also deepening a five year recession that has wiped out a fifth of the Mediterranean country's output and driven unemployment to 25 percent.


George Carlin: I didn't vote

"Where are all the bright, honest intelligent Americans?"

Black Magic

Cops: Rooster burned in apparent satanic ritual

Satanic Ritual
© s1030/Photobucket
Connecticut, US - A satanic ritual held in a Bridgeport cemetery involved pouring cologne on chickens and setting them on fire, police said.

Bridgeport Police Officer Ken Ruge said in a report that as he was patrolling early Saturday, he noticed a large, scorched patch of ground in St. Augustine Cemetery at Arctic and Helen streets.

He said he found a rooster, burned to death on the ground and an empty bottle of cologne nearby. Apparently the cologne was poured on the rooster, which was then set on fire, Ruge wrote.

A second chicken was found behind a headstone, burned but still alive, and the officer called the city Animal Control Department, which sent Officer Jim Gonzalez. He brought the chicken to a veterinary hospital, officials said.

Police said Monday that the cemetery has been the scene of several such incidents, and residents seeing someone entering a cemetery after dark should report it.

Police here investigated several similar incidents two years ago, including one in which a woman killed several chickens as part of a Santeria curse she put on an ex-boyfriend.