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Tue, 07 Jul 2020
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Olbermann: Fire TSA's chief and replace him with 'a human being'

During his reoccurring "Worst Persons" segment Monday night, Current TV's liberal host Keith Olbermann called for John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to be fired and replaced with "a human being."

Olbermann was reacting to reports that the TSA instructed a woman to remove her 95-year-old mother's adult diaper before she could go through security at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport earlier this month. The TSA subsequently denied ever making the request and insisted that agents had acted properly.

"If it's not going to change and the agency is really going to defend abusing a 95-year-old Leukemia patients on the incomprehensible premise that they might be suicide bombers, then this John Pistole - the head of the TSA - he needs to be fired and we need to get a human being in there to do his job," Olbermann said.

Bad Guys

Greek police fire tear gas on angry protesters

Greek anti-riot police have fired tear gas at 10,000 protesters outside parliament after youths hurled firebombs as a general strike against the bankruptcy-threatened government turned ugly.

Alarm Clock

Indians pay surgeons to turn girls into boys

Indian doctors have been accused of conducting sex change operations on young girls whose parents want sons to improve the family's income prospects.

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© Alamy
There are now seven million more boys than girls aged under six in the country.
Madhya Pradesh state government is investigating claims that up to 300 girls were surgically turned into boys in one city after their parents paid about £2,000 each for the operations.

Women's and children's rights campaigners denounced the practice as a "social madness" that made a "mockery of women in India".

India's gender balance has already been tilted in favour of boys by female foeticide - sex selection abortions - by families who fear the high marriage costs and dowries they may have to pay. There are now seven million more boys than girls aged under six in the country.

Campaigners said the use of surgery meant that girls were no longer safe even after birth.

The row emerged after newspapers disclosed children from throughout India were being operated on by doctors in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

Attention

Cameroon Bans Night Travel to End Road Carnage

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© AFP
Only 20% of Cameroon's roads are tarred
Cameroon has banned night-time public transport between cities after a spate of deadly accidents last year, many involving heavy drinking on the country's infamously poor roads.

"Night traffic represents just about 5 percent of human transport, but represents 35 percent of road accidents," Aoudou Dotel Moussa, director of land transport at the Cameroon transport ministry, said Monday.

Cameroon, the largest economy in the Central African region, has one of the continent's poorest road networks, with less than 20 percent of the country's roads asphalted.

Bizarro Earth

Actress Yeoh blacklisted, deported from Myanmar

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© unknown
Michelle Yeoh
Authorities in Myanmar have deported Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh who plans to play pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an upcoming film, an immigration official said Tuesday.

Yeoh, a Malaysian known for playing Chinese spy Wai Lin alongside Pierce Brosnan in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies among other roles, was detained on arrival at Yangon's international airport on June 22 and sent out of the country on the next flight.

"She was deported on the same day because she is on a blacklist," the official told Reuters, requesting anonymity because she was not authorized to talk to the media.

Yeoh, 48, has been in Thailand, Britain and France filming scenes for the film The Lady, as Suu Kyi is known in Myanmar. The film is due to be released in October.

Bell

The Attack on the Middle Class

On Saturday, June 18th, I was given the honor of speaking at Netroots Nation 2011 in Minneapolis, the 6th annual convention of progressive grassroots leaders and activists. I was the opening speaker at Saturday's Morning Keynote session, which focused on how to save the middle class and build progressive infrastructure. I had an amazing time at the conference and met a ton of passionate activists and progressives.

It was fitting that Netroots Nation was in Minnesota this year. Minnesota is the state that sent Hubert Humphrey to the U.S. Senate, where he cheerfully waged - and usually won - great battles in the name of the young and the old, the poor and the vulnerable, the oppressed and the disenfranchised.

It's the state where Walter Mondale rose to become the living embodiment of common-sense Midwestern progressive values. And it's the state where Paul Wellstone became my hero - and the hero of a generation of progressives who believed, as he did, that we all do better when we all do better.

These Minnesotans were instrumental in establishing the America we know and love today - from building the social safety net to establishing workers' rights to investing in our manufacturing sector - they helped build the middle class. And defending those progressive values is crucial to saving the middle class today.

My speech, entitled: "The Attack on America's Middle Class, and the Plan to Fight Back," laid out some ideas on what we can do to preserve these values that began as 'progressive,' but have become simply American.

People

Two-Day General Strike Hits Greece, International Airport Affected

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© Reuters
Greece will be shut by another 48-hour general strike organised by the trade unions, as the Pasok ruling party and prime minister George Papandreou try to convince parliament to support the second austerity package due to be passed on June 29 2011.

All public transport except for the Athens metro system will be shut on June 28-29, and public services will also be disrupted. The strike will affect buses, trolley buses, the tram, trains, the suburban railway and the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway. Additionally, air traffic controllers are to join the industrial action from 8am until noon and once again from 6pm until 10pm, the Greek daily Kathimerini reported.

The Greek government will attempt to pass a second round of austerity measures on June 29 to qualify for another bail out from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

Propaganda

Gone With the Papers

I visited the Hartford Courant as a high school student. It was the first time I was in a newsroom. The Connecticut paper's newsroom, the size of a city block, was packed with rows of metal desks, most piled high with newspapers and notebooks. Reporters banged furiously on heavy typewriters set amid tangled phone cords, overflowing ashtrays, dirty coffee mugs and stacks of paper, many of which were in sloping piles on the floor. The din and clamor, the incessantly ringing phones, the haze of cigarette and cigar smoke that lay over the feverish hive, the hoarse shouts, the bustle and movement of reporters, most in disheveled coats and ties, made it seem an exotic, living organism. I was infatuated. I dreamed of entering this fraternity, which I eventually did, for more than two decades writing for The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor and, finally, The New York Times, where I spent most of my career as a foreign correspondent.

Newsrooms today are anemic and forlorn wastelands. I was recently in the newsroom at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and patches of the floor, also the size of a city block, were open space or given over to rows of empty desks. These institutions are going the way of the massive rotary presses that lurked like undersea monsters in the bowels of newspaper buildings, roaring to life at night. The heavily oiled behemoths, the ones that spat out sheets of newsprint at lightning speed, once empowered and enriched newspaper publishers who for a few lucrative decades held a monopoly on connecting sellers with buyers. Now that that monopoly is gone, now that the sellers no long need newsprint to reach buyers, the fortunes of newspapers are declining as fast as the page counts of daily news sheets.

2 + 2 = 4

'Benevolent Sexism' is the last thing feminists should be worrying about

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© Getty
I have, with some personal difficulty, now plodded my way through the turgid text of the report on perceived sexism by Julia Becker and Janet Swim, in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, which has caused a stir with its identification of a syndrome called "Benevolent Sexism". The study's full, throat-clearing title is: Seeing the Unseen: Attention to Daily Encounters with Sexism as a Way to Reduce Sexist Beliefs.

"Benevolent Sexism" is a form of patriarchal control designed to promote sexist attitudes in a pseudo-friendly way. Manifestations of it - as identified by the authors - include calling women "girls" but not men "boys"; believing that women should be cherished and protected by men; helping a woman choose a laptop computer in the belief that it's not the sort of task for which her gender is suited; and complimenting a woman on cooking or looking after children well because that is behaviour especially suited to a woman.

Bulb

Russia to cut off electricity to Belarus at midnight over debt

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© RIA Novosti. Anton Denisov
Russia to cut off electricity in Belarus at midnight over debt
Russia will cut off electricity supplies to Belarus on Wednesday until Belarus repays its 1.2-billion ruble ($43 million) debt, a spokesman for Russia's electricity export monopoly Inter RAO said on Tuesday.

Russia prolonged until Tuesday morning the deadline for Belarus to pay off its electricity debt for April and May, threatening to cut off supplies if it does not, but no payment has been made.